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Respiration ; 100(10): 1027-1037, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261221


The imbalance between the prevalence of patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) and acute-on-chronic respiratory failure and the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds requires new solutions. The increasing use of non-invasive respiratory tools to support patients at earlier stages of ARF and the increased expertise of non-ICU clinicians in other types of supportive care have led to the development of adult pulmonary intensive care units (PICUs) and pulmonary intermediate care units (PIMCUs). As in other European countries, Italian PICUs and PIMCUs provide an intermediate level of care as the setting designed for managing ARF patients without severe non-pulmonary dysfunction. The PICUs and PIMCUs may also act as step-down units for weaning patients from prolonged mechanical ventilation and for discharging patients still requiring ventilatory support at home. These units may play an important role in the on-going coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This position paper promoted by the Italian Thoracic Society (ITS-AIPO) describes the models, facilities, staff, equipment, and operating methods of PICUs and PIMCUs.

COVID-19/therapy , Critical Care/organization & administration , Intensive Care Units/organization & administration , Intermediate Care Facilities/organization & administration , Respiratory Insufficiency/therapy , Respiratory Therapy , Adult , COVID-19/complications , Hospitalization , Humans , Italy , Patient Selection , Respiratory Insufficiency/etiology , Societies, Medical
Int J Qual Health Care ; 33(1)2021 Feb 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-704209


QUALITY PROBLEM OR ISSUE: The on-going COVID-19 pandemic may cause the collapse of healthcare systems because of unprecedented hospitalization rates. INITIAL ASSESSMENT: A total of 8.2 individuals per 1000 inhabitants have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in our province. The hospital predisposed 110 beds for COVID-19 patients: on the day of the local peak, 90% of them were occupied and intensive care unit (ICU) faced unprecedented admission rates, fearing system collapse. CHOICE OF SOLUTION: Instead of increasing the number of ICU beds, the creation of a step-down unit (SDU) close to the ICU was preferred: the aim was to safely improve the transfer of patients and to relieve ICU from the risk of overload. IMPLEMENTATION: A nine-bed SDU was created next to the ICU, led by intensivists and ICU nurses, with adequate personal protective equipment, monitoring systems and ventilators for respiratory support when needed. A second six-bed SDU was also created. EVALUATION: Patients were clinically comparable to those of most reports from Western Countries now available in the literature. ICU never needed supernumerary beds, no patient died in the SDU, and there was no waiting time for ICU admission of critical patients. SDU has been affordable from human resources, safety and economic points of view. LESSONS LEARNED: COVID-19 is like an enduring mass casualty incident. Solutions tailored on local epidemiology and available resources should be implemented to preserve the efficiency and adaptability of our institutions and provide the adequate sanitary response.

COVID-19/therapy , Critical Illness , Intensive Care Units/organization & administration , Intermediate Care Facilities/organization & administration , Bed Occupancy/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2