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University of Missouri Health Care News Releases
Intensive care unit at University Hospital recognized as one of nation's top critical care units

November 9, 2009                                                                                          Matt Splett
                                                                                                                            Media Coordinator
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          (573) 882-5663

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University Hospital’s Medical and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit has won the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence given by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). The award recognizes the top hospital intensive care units in the country.

Until this fall, no hospital in Missouri had ever received the prestigious Beacon Award.

“The Beacon Award puts University Hospital in select company among the best acute care hospitals in the country,” said Stevan Whitt, M.D., medical director of the Medical and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit. “The award shines a light on the experience and skill with which we take care of critically ill patients 24-7, 365 days a year.”

There are an estimated 6,000 intensive care units in the United States. The AACN has given approximately 200 Beacon Awards since the award’s inception in 2003.

To receive the award, intensive care unit staff demonstrated how the ICU at University Hospital meets more than 40 rigorous criteria that measure excellence and quality in seven areas: patient outcomes, training and mentoring, recruitment and retention, education, research and evidence-based practices; leadership and organizational ethics; and overall healing environment.

“Our ICU team selected the Beacon Award as a goal and worked for a couple years to meet the high standards set forth by the AACN,” said Christina Vollrath, R.N., manager of the Medical and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital. “To achieve this success is a great recognition for our staff and reassuring to our patients that we are a leader in utilizing the best practices for quality patient care in a patient-centered environment.”

University Hospital’s Medical and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit has 18 beds dedicated to the care of acutely ill patients. The unit is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of more than 100 medical experts focused on patient and family-centered care.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, representing the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses. Its international headquarters are located in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Founded in 1969, the Association has more than 240 chapters worldwide and is working toward a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families, where acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

University of Missouri Health Care's network of hospitals, clinics and telehealth sites reaches across the state of Missouri. Each year more than 20,000 patients are cared for in its hospitals and more than 500,000 patients are treated in its clinics. University Hospital and Clinics, Children's Hospital, Columbia Regional Hospital and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center are based in Columbia, MO. University Hospital offers the area’s only level I Trauma Center and burn intensive care unit. Children’s Hospital is mid-Missouri’s only comprehensive pediatric facility with more than 30 specialties. CRH provides the area’s most comprehensive medical team for women’s health and houses the Family Birth center and Level III neonatal intensive care unit. Dedicated solely to cancer, Ellis Fischel is the state’s designated cancer center and offers the region’s most comprehensive screening program. The health system also includes a long-term acute care facility, Missouri Rehabilitation Center, in Mount Vernon, Mo.

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