Progressive in care

There’s a new wing at Trinity Hospital specifically for patients who aren’t sick enough to require intensive care, but who still need close monitoring.

On Monday, Trinity Hospital opened a 10-bed Progressive Care Unit on the hospital’s fifth floor to serve as a step-down unit from the Intensive Care Unit and a step up from other units, depending on a patient’s needs.

“It will free up ICU beds for more critical patients and provide a more appropriate level of care for patients who don’t need to be in ICU, but who still have complex medical needs,” Lorrie Antos, Director of Critical Nursing, said in a press release.

Progressive care patients are defined as patients who are moderately stable with less complexity than an ICU patient. Trinity’s Progressive Care Unit features sophisticated patient monitoring technology similar to intensive care. The unit will also be staffed by nurses who specialize in critical care.

Amy Bergrude, nurse manager for the Progressive Care Unit, said this is a new adventure for Trinity. “With all of the action in the midwestern part of the state, it’s opening up opportunities for Trinity to serve our patient population better.”

The nurse to patient ratio in the Progressive Care Unit is one nurse for every three patients, Bergrude said, so the acuity of the patients is higher. Before Trinity had the PCU, patients would go from the ICU to the floor and the ratio was one nurse for every five or six patients, she explained.

“This is a stepping stone,” Bergrude said.

The Progressive Care Unit has been a work in progress for a couple of years, said Bergrude. Doctors at Trinity had requested this level of care. Nurses and administrators began working a year ago to make plans, hire staff and establish protocols and admission guidelines.

In other facilities, units like Trinity’s PCU are also called step-down units, Bergrude said.

This unit at Trinity was needed in order to serve the community better, said Bergrude.

“Trinity is the leading trauma center in the state and that brings a lot of patients to us and(sometimes) leads to long stays in the ICU,” she said. “There wasn’t another place to send them before” the Progressive Care Unit was established.

“This is a big step forward for us,” Antos said. “For our progressive care patients this is going to be a win-win. They’ll still receive an extra level of vigilance, but they’ll be able to recover in a more relaxed atmosphere with fewer restrictions, such as the number of family and friends that can visit. This will be more conducive to their recovery.”