Grant Application

Katie S. Nason, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery, and Associate Director of Cardiothoracic Research, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Christine M. Deschamps, RN, BSN, MSLBE, LSSGB, Clinical Improvement Specialist, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery


Proposed Innovation

The project began as a pilot program for patients being discharged from UPMC acute care facilities to the skilled nursing facility at Cranberry Place. Emphasis was placed on improving communication between staff at each facility and educating RNs, LPNs, and CNAs at Cranberry Place about the aspiration risk of incoming residents. Testing conducted before and after training sessions showed significant improvement in aspiration awareness.


Improvements in Action

Tools will include training sessions, annual testing for caregivers and care guidelines for at-risk patients and their families. Educational material will include “head of bed” signs highlighting safety tips, aspiration prevention posters and pamphlets, and detailed posters illustrating proper feeding methods to be displayed in resident dining rooms at all UPMC Senior Communities.


Results — In Progress

Once the trial and testing phase is completed and new processes standardized, the program will be expanded throughout UPMC Senior Communities. Increasing awareness of pulmonary aspiration and prevention measures among family members and care providers will improve the health and well being of patients and residents of long-term care facilities. It will also create an overall culture of patient empowerment and safety.