Intensive care in Covid times ‘safe’ according to report

Intensive care in Covid times ‘safe’ according to report

The report found that outcomes for patients in Irish ICUs were within the expected range, despite the challenges to care with the Covid pandemic.

A report focusing on care received in Irish Intensive Care Units in 2020 has revealed that ICU’s continued to provide safe care for patients during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Rory Dwyer, NOCA Clinical Lead for the Irish National ICU Audit and Audit Manager Mary Baggot revealed that Irish Intensive Care Units continued to provide safe care for patients during the height of the 2020 pandemic and that patient outcomes were within acceptable limits for all individual units audited, indicating an acceptable quality of care while patients were in ICU.

Speaking on the launch of the Irish National ICU Audit, Professor Rory Dwyer said: “This Report should reassure the public and the staff working in the Health Service that the most critically ill patients in each hospital will receive high-quality care.” The Irish National Intensive Care Unit Audit (INICUA) documented the care of 11,177 critically ill patients who had 11,793 admissions to ICU in 2020.

  • The report found that the average length of stay for each ICU admission was 5.8 days and the total bed days occupied were 68,400.
  • Activity and outcomes in 25 Intensive Care Units and High Dependency Units (HDUs) across 21 HSE-funded public hospitals in 2020 were audited. This accounted for 92% of all ICU care in adult HSE-funded hospitals in 2020.
  • There were 700 admissions of patients with Covid-19 which accounted for 5.9% of all ICU admissions in 2020.

The report found that outcomes for patients in Irish ICUs were within the expected range, despite the challenges to care with the Covid pandemic.

A range of quality indicators across all ICUs were almost universally within acceptable limits. Outcomes were found to be similar to outcomes observed in UK Units, using identical metrics. Equivalence to this international reference standard provides reassurance about the quality of care in Irish ICUs.

  • The report found that 703 critically ill patients were transferred from one hospital to ICU in another hospital in 2020, an essential component in maintaining the quality of care provided to all critically ill patients.
  • The report also recommended the continuation of the ongoing HSE programme to expand ICU capacity in line with the Critical Care strategic plan, with approval from the Department of Health.

Audit Manager, Mary Baggot, said: “This National Report on 2020 data offers the service users and staff assurance that Irish ICUs are a safe place to care for the sickest patients in the hospitals.”

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