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Utilizing a Quality Improvement Approach to improve Positioning of Acute Burn Patients.

Patient positioning, using "anti-deformity positioning," is a standard practice in burn rehabilitation to assist with edema management, scar contracture prevention, and wound healing. Consistently providing proper positioning requires the combined effort of the multidisciplinary burn team. Our primary goal was to increase the frequency that patients were correctly positioned to over 90%. At a medium-sized, academic burn unit, random audits were conducted by burn lead therapists on the compliance of proper patient positioning over six months. Using this data as a trigger, a quality improvement project was designed using the PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycle. Surveys were distributed to therapy and nursing staff to identify barriers to proper positioning. Effects on positioning compliance post-intervention were monitored. In the six months prior to intervention, average correct positioning was 76%. Surveys identified the following barriers to care: nursing needed more education and the approach was too heavily reliant on nursing efforts alone. To address this, therapists provided education to all nurses, communicated daily about positioning expectations, shifted the project to a multidisciplinary approach, and made changes in therapy workflow. The median compliance improved from 79% to 91% (p < 0.05). Coordinating efforts of the entire burn team improves consistency for positioning in burn patients. Utilizing the PDSA cycle allowed us to identify areas for improvement and develop appropriate interventions to increase education for nursing staff and workflow improvements for therapists. Following the completion of our interventions we were able to obtain an immediate improvement in our patient positioning compliance.

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