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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit Honored as One of the Best in the Country

Children’s Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for Critically Ill Child and Young Adult Heart Patients Was Recognized with a Gold Beacon Award for Excellence. It was Just One of Five Children’s Hospitals in the Nation to Earn the Special Designation by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Media Contact: Lorenzo Benet
Office: 323-361-4823

LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2013) – The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has been awarded the national gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

The Beacon Award for Excellence is a three-year designation that merits individual units and its caregivers who distinguish themselves by successfully improving patient care and achieving healthy work environments. The Beacon program’s three levels of designation—gold, silver and bronze—signifies major milestones in the unit’s journey to excellence. Units that receive the award set the standard in patient care environments and are excellent models for a healthy work environment. Units also meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“The Beacon Award is an indication of the clinical excellence of the work done in our CTICU,” says Mary Dee Hacker, MBA, NEC-BC, FAAN, Vice President of Patient Care Services at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “It is a rigorous evaluative process, and we are very proud of this designation.”

Developed by AACN in 2003, the Beacon Award provides hospitals and healthcare systems a way to respond to increasing concerns about quality and safety and to evaluate the continuing evolution of clinical care.

“The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes. Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care,” says AACN President Vicki Good, RN, MSN, CENP.

The CTICU at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles earned the gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence by receiving top scores in the following six categories:
• Leadership Structures and Systems
• Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
• Effective Communication
• Knowledge Management and Best Practices
• Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
• Patient Outcomes

The 24-bed CTICU is staffed by six board-certified pediatric intensivists that reaches out to critically ill children with an effective mix of medical disciplines, including nursing, respiratory care, cardiology, cardiac surgery, anesthesiology, and critical care. It is the only dedicated, separately staffed unit for pediatric patients on the West Coast.  About 900 patients are admitted each year, including children with the most complex diseases of the heart and lung.

“The Children’s Hospital CTICU cares for children 0 to 21 years of age, however, a large percentage of patients are newborns with complex cardiac defects that require surgery ,” explains Barbara Gross, RN, MSN, NEA, BC, director of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Heart Institute. “Other types of patients include those who require mechanical support while waiting for a heart transplant, and patients of all ages who require surgery or medical management of their heart problems.”

The CTICU combines the services of:
• the Division of Pediatric Cardiology
• the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
• the Department of Anesthesiology Critical Medicine

Special facilities include two positive-pressure and hepa-filtered private rooms designed specifically for transplant patients.

“Each and every one of our nurses and staff has contributed to this recognition and it is because of them that we have been awarded the gold,” says Gross.

About Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital on the West Coast and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

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