Clinical practice guidelines in conjunction with research reports provided the research based evidence to guide practice and achieve the desired clinical outcomes for sedation management in the mechanically ventilated (Changes included development and implementation of an agitation and sedation scale; implementation of a sedation protocol for the adult mechanically ventilated patient, including use of combination drug therapy; and the addition of a daily wake-up assessment.
Changes in practice were done through a team approach led by an advanced practice and staff nurse partnership and supported through a department of nursing internship programme.
Research suggests that lack of a sedation protocol in an ICU is associated with prolonged sedation, longer ventilation times, longer hospital stays, and higher costs.
Evidence suggests that the use of a protocol directed sedation policy decreases the duration of mechanical ventilation for patients with acute respiratory failure compared with non-protocol directed care.
Successful evidence-based clinical practice change involves organisational and individual commitment.