Center for Pediatric Nursing Research & Evidence-Based Practice


A Quality Improvement Initiative to Provide Timely Central Vascular Access in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

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Advances in neonatal care : official journal of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses

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PubMed ID



BACKGROUND: Timely central venous access is essential in the care of critically ill neonates. Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are the preferred form of central venous access when umbilical venous catheters cannot be placed or are discontinued. However, time delays increase risk for injury from peripheral intravenous lines and may contribute to inconsistent delivery of necessary fluids and medications.

PURPOSE: The aim of this quality improvement project was to decrease wait times for PICC placement in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

METHODS: A unit-based PICC team was developed consisting of NICU nurses and attending neonatologists and implemented in 2 phases. Data were collected from chart reviews before, during, and after implementation of the team. We tracked time between PICC order and placement and number of attempts. Hospital metrics on peripheral intravenous line infiltrations and central line-associated blood stream infection were also monitored. At the end of the project, we continued tracking outcomes to determine whether gains would be sustained past the project period.

RESULTS: Implementation of a unit-based interdisciplinary specialty team led to a 50% reduction in mean PICC wait times from 1.2 days to 0.58 days. Benefits of the initiative were sustained past the initial project period.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The development of a dedicated, local team played a key role in improving vascular access in the NICU.

IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH: Proximity of specialized teams provides a solution to address gaps in care in the NICU.


Catheter-Related Infections, Catheterization, Central Venous, Catheterization, Peripheral, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Intensive Care Units, Neonatal, Quality Improvement, Retrospective Studies



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