VAP-Free Days in the PICU

On Jan. 26, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) reached 320 days since the last ventilator-associated pneumonia – far surpassing our previous record of 187 days. Please stop by the PICU and congratulate our patients, families, and staff for partnering to fight infections!

During the past 10 months, care team members in the PICU have increased infection prevention efforts through simulation education, embedded staff hand hygiene observations, and ventilator care bundle audits. As a result of everyone’s hard work & commitment to patient safety, our days between ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) have soared to more than 320 days!

How did we do it?
In 2008-2009, a multidisciplinary Six Sigma Green Belt team comprised of Claudia G. Christy, Brad Harris, Tiffany Mabe, and Otis Patterson completed a project that yielded impressive results, reducing VAP cases in the PICU. After an increase in infections and in early 2010, multidisciplinary team members identified areas of process non-compliance and strategies to address them:

1) The PICU Nursing Education committee conducted education and simulation training for all PICU team members.
2) A vendor representative conducted oral care education for care team members.
3) Embedded staff conducted regular hand hygiene observations and ventilator care bundle audits, providing immediate feedback regarding compliance.

Progress towards eliminating hospital-acquired infections in the PICU is tracked on our quality dashboard, both in the unit and publicly reported online here: Audit tools are also available on the Improving Pediatric Critical Care (IPCC) website here: The multidisciplinary advisory group PIQME – Partners in Improving Quality and Measuring for Excellence – meets monthly to review project team progress, address issues impeding progress, and promote the sharing of lessons learned. The IPCC program was formed in 2009 through a partnership between UNC Dance Marathon and N.C. Children’s Center for Clinical Excellence.

For more information, please contact PICU Medical Director, Dr. Tina Willis (, PICU Nurse Manager, Roger Saunders ( or Pediatric Manager, Respiratory Care, Sheila White (