Standardizing care for COVID-19 patients saves lives

Recent research shows having a standard approach to caring for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 improves outcomes. (Copyright 2020 by Cleveland Clinic News Service. All rights reserved.)

Caring for people hospitalized with COVID-19 is complex, as they’re often the sickest patients in the intensive care unit.

Now, a recent study shows having a standard process for treating coronavirus patients helps them recover faster.

“There was less variability. When you think about variability in practices in general, it’s the enemy of patient safety,” said Hassan Khouli, MD, Chairman of Critical Care Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, who led the research. “When we are able to reduce variability and to standardize the care of these critically ill patients, we believe this has significantly minimized gaps in care that can happen.”

Researchers looked at ICUs across the Cleveland Clinic health system.

Results show COVID-19 patients did better, needed less time in the ICU, and went home sooner once protocols were put in place to standardize care.

Dr. Khouli said intensive care teams are getting better at caring for people with COVID-19 and keeping them alive, but the ICU is the last place you want to end up. He added prevention is the best tool we have to fight this virus.

“Doing the things that we know work, face mask, wearing them appropriately, social distancing, washing hands, avoiding really crowded gatherings,” said Dr. Khouli. “Prevention of this disease is very important even before we start taking care of patients.”

It’s important to remember, when wearing a face mask, it should cover your nose and mouth for the best protection.

A face mask should be worn whenever you’re around people you don’t live with, especially indoors.

Complete results can be found in the journal CHEST.