Improving Patient Care

Millions of patients fall in hospitals and other acute-care settings annually, resulting in moderate-to-severe injury and even death. About 1.2 million U.S. hospital patients are infected with MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) each year. Facilityacquired wounds such as pressure ulcers are also on the rise.

Such patient safety concerns are the driving force for a group of faculty members who are making significant inroads into a wide range of patient safety issues by conducting research to affect quality patient care. “Today, our group—along with our clinical partners—have been securing research funding for several projects associated with patient advocacy, patient care, and evidence-based practice,” says Denise M. Korniewicz, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., professor and senior associate dean for research at the school, and leader of the patient safety research team.

The Patient Safety Group is made up of Korniewicz, along with Jeanne Siegel, Ph.D. ’08, M.S.N. ’01, R.N., clinical assistant professor of nursing; Vivian Padron Fajardo, Ph.D. ’05, M.S.N. ’98, B.S.N. ’85, R.N., clinical assistant professor of nursing; Mary Wyckoff, Ph.D., R.N., A.C.N.P., clinical assistant professor of nursing; Mimi Asher, M.S.N. ’85, R.N. instructor; and Jeanette Adams, Ph.D., R.N., clinical assistant professor of nursing. Their goal? To nurture patientsafety oriented studies designed to advance nursing knowledge, improve patient outcomes and promote evidence based practice.

The group’s first project is being conducted in collaboration with University of Miami Hospital and is funded by Hill-Rom, a medical technology company that specializes in innovative hospital and home medical equipment. Hill-Rom has created a special bed/ mattress system that prevents patients from developing pressure ulcers and associated medical complications. The group is examining if the use of these mattresses in a clinical setting will reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers (Stage II or higher) to one percent or less. “We hope to have initial results soon,” says Korniewicz.

Due to the success of the first study, Hill-Rom is funding a second study to examine if the use of a special Hill-Rom mattress, designed using Smart Silver™ technology, inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and decreases the amount of microorganisms on a bed’s surface.