222: Transforming patient outcomes in the ICU with critical care nurse practitioner, Kali Dayton.

Solving Healthcare with Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng

222: Transforming patient outcomes in the ICU with critical care nurse practitioner, Kali Dayton.

January 31, 2023

222: Transforming patient outcomes in the ICU with critical care nurse practitioner, Kali Dayton.

In this episode we welcome critical care nurse practitioner, Kali Dayton, DNP, AGACNP. Kali is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and host of the ‘Walking Home From The ICU’ podcast. Kali works closely with international ICU teams to help transform patient outcomes. They focus on early mobility and management of delirium in the ICU. She joins us to chat about her early days and experience in the ICU, sedation in patients and the effects of mobility of patients in the ICU, medications, how she helps with patient healing and more. Kali tells us about what inspired her to start her podcast and shares a story about her experience with an ICU survivor.



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SP: COVID has affected us all and with all the negativity surrounding it, it’s often hard to find the positive. One of the blessings that has given us is the opportunity to build an avenue for creating change. Starting right here in our community discussing topics that affect us most such as racism and health care, maintaining a positive mindset, creating change the importance of advocacy, and the many lessons we have all learned from COVID. If you or your organization are interested in speaking engagements, send a message to [email protected] or reach out on Facebook @kwadcast or online at

KK: Welcome to ‘Solving Healthcare’, I’m Kwadwo Kyeremanteng. I’m an ICU and palliative care physician here in Ottawa and the founder of resource optimization that one, we are on a mission to transform healthcare in Canada. We’re going to talk with physicians, nurses, administrators, patients and their families because inefficiencies, overwork and overcrowding affects us all. I believe it’s time for a better health care system that’s more cost effective, dignified, and just for everyone involved.

KK: Kwadcast nation super exciting episode I got flowing with you. We got Kali Dayton. She is a nurse practitioner that has taken ICU delirium, ICU mobility so seriously, she’s got her own consulting firm. She also has her own podcast ‘Walking from the ICU’. Such a great phenomenon. So, we got her you’ll hear this episode. It’s a live cast that we did a couple of weeks ago. I’m just proud of her. Someone that’s taken getting people healthier and out of the ICU and functional seriously, and we need more of that going on right now. We’re only gonna see higher demands. So, without further ado, I’m gonna bring Kali on but first, check out our latest newsletter, It has everything Kwadcast, our episodes, or newsletter, guest blog appearances, guest vlog appearances, you’re gonna love it. Check it out. Without further ado, I want to introduce you to Kali Dayton. Welcome to the podcast.

KD: Thank you so much for having me on. I’ve been following your podcast; I appreciate your mission. I see a lot of our objectives are in line.

KK: Oh 100% 100%. So, Kali, can you walk us through your story? You’re a nurse practitioner. That is, like I said, changing the outlook for critically ill patients. How did you get here?

KD: Absolutely. I’m sure a lot of my listeners know my story very well. I started out as a brand-new nurse, many years ago, over a decade ago, in awake and walking ICU. That’s just what I call it now. That’s the term that I’ve coined to describe what they do there. In the interview in my naivete, I was just excited to be there. I had no idea what they were talking about when they asked, ‘Would you be willing to walk patients that are on ventilators?’ and I was willing to do anything, right. I was just brand new graduate. I said yeah, of course absolutely teach me everything. I didn’t understand the magnitude of that question until probably three to eight years later. Because when I started working there, no one made a big deal out of it, for decades and that ICU it’s a medical surgical ICU, its high acuity, they’ve had a COVID ICU throughout the pandemic. They’ve maintained it this practice of allowing almost every patient to wake up, usually right after intubation, unless there’s an actual indication for sedation. What’s been intubated on mechanical ventilation is not an indication for sedation. So, unless they have an inability oxygen with movement, seizures and cranial hypertension, something like that, otherwise they are awake. They’re reoriented and they’re allowed to communicate, tell us what they need. We manage their pain according to what they tell us. They’re usually mobilizing shortly after within hours after intubation, and throughout the day, and throughout their time on the ventilator. So that was completely normal. No one told me ‘Hey, Kali, this is the gold standard of care. This is the model for all early mobility protocols in the world’ Everyone knows about this ICU. No one told me that. So, I spent a few years there thinking that that was normal critical care, medicine, knowing none the wiser. Then I became a travel nurse, and I went to other ICUs in the in the United States. My very first contract when I walked into the ICU, it just felt different. But I knew I expected things to feel different, right? It’s a new environment. But everyone was in bed. Everyone looked like they were asleep. There were very few signs of life, and I got my patient assignment, and the patient was sedated and on the ventilator. I didn’t know why they were sedated. I wanted to continue my routine, do a neuro exam, hopefully get the patient in the chair ready for physical therapy, because that was my routine, in the wake & walk ICU. A lot of times physical therapy comes out of that patient is in the chair waiting for the physical therapist, take them on a walk even on the ventilator. So, I asked my orientee nurse, ‘Hey, can I get this patient up and take him for a walk?’ and she looked at me in horror and said, ‘No, they’re on the ventilator. They’re intubated’ What didn’t make sense to me, because I’ve cared for at least hundreds, maybe even 1000s of patients that were on the ventilator and were awake and walking. I had no idea what she was talking about. I said, ‘I know that they’re intubated. But why are they sedated?’ ‘Because they’re intubated?’ and I say, ‘Okay, but why are they sedated?’ and we went in circles. That was the first time it ever crossed my mind that a patient would be automatically sedated, just because they were intubated. I quickly realized that that was the common perspective throughout the ICU, that I was the odd man out there. Here’s the thing. Despite my years of experience, treating patients like that, I knew how to do it. I didn’t know why we did it. No one had taught me what sedation actually does. No one taught me what it’s actually like for patients, and how much it changes outcomes. So, in that environment, I didn’t have the tools to support my approach and my practices and to advocate for my patients. I was still kind of a new nurse, and I was, you know, you just had to fit in in the ICU. There’s so much peer pressure, there’s the culture is such a huge part of it. I ended up just taking the ‘When in Rome’ approach and I just went with what I was surrounded with, and I ended up following along sedating my patients. I didn’t really obviously know the difference. I mean, I saw a difference in outcomes. I saw patients stay on the ventilator for far longer. I missed the human connection, I noticed that there were a lot of tracheostomies and nursing home and LTech discharges that I did not see the way can walk in ICU 93% of survivors from that high acuity medical surgical ICU that I came from, went straight home after the after the ICU.

KK: That is nuts. That is nuts.

KD: That’s what I thought was normal. So, I was noticing things, but I couldn’t really put my finger on it. I couldn’t advocate and I just went with it. Right. I even laughed at some of the nursing jokes about yeah, I hope my patient sedated, and totally snowed today. Thinking that that was funny, and it wasn’t till years later that I was in grad school. Of course, even in my acute care doctorate program, nothing was mentioned about sedation or mobility practices. It was just assumed even in our case studies, it was assumed that if a patient came in with pneumonia, they were going to be sedated if they were on a ventilator. I was on a plane ride, and I sat next to a survivor. When he heard that I was a nurse and ICU nurse, the color dropped from his face. He started telling me about his experience over four years before that moment when he was a patient. He told me what it was like to be on a ventilator. He just barely mentioned the ventilator. All he could fixate on was what it was like to be in the middle of a forest with his limbs nailed to the ground and trees were falling down on him and he couldn’t run away. Demons were coming to the sky and lots of things that he still couldn’t talk about, because he was so deeply traumatized. I was stranger on this plane and he’s sobbing to me, telling me about what he experienced. Of course, I wanted to diagnose him and I said ‘it sounds like you had ICU delirium’ but that meant nothing to him. I came to realize as I listened with real empathetic ears, that that wasn’t just a nightmare. Those weren’t hallucinations. Those were vivid and real. He was psychologically scarred as if he physically lived through those scenarios. I was really shaken. I really hoped that he was one in a million, because he was telling me that for year after discharge, it was really difficult to relearn how to sit, stand, walk, swallow, that was really hard. The hardest part was that for year after discharge, every time he closed his eyes, he would be lost back in that forest back in that scenario, and he could not sleep. So, the depression, anxiety, physical disability, I didn’t ask about the cognitive function because I didn’t enough know enough to know that he wouldn’t be at high risk of having post ICU dementia. He said that he still had not returned to his career. His life was over. He said ‘I know I feel bad even telling you this, I should be grateful to the ICU to him for saving my life, but my life is over. The life I knew before the ICU is gone. I lost my life in the ICU. If I were ever to become sick, I would never cross a toe back into the ICU. He was a DNR/DNI in his 40s, with no other real comorbidities because he never wanted to live through that again. I think what he meant by that was ICU delirium. I had worked in the ICU about six years. We have never I never heard anyone talk about anything like that. So, I thought this must be a fluke, he must be one in a million. So, I went survivor groups. I thought I would have to post and ask survivors questions. No, the second I got into survivor group, I just scroll through and almost all their posts were about the trauma suffered under sedation and these medically induced comas, what it was like to not be able to balance their check book, read a book, read a clock, like they were barely able to text. These are people thinking ‘How long is this going to last? my brain is not the same’. So that is what got me into looking into the research. I was shocked to find decades of research, exposing the harm of our normal practices. Yet we continue to do those things and I was back in that awake and walk ICU. Seeing a completely different way and I’ve seen this contrast from what I experienced for years as a travel nurse. Then where I was currently at as a doctorate student, nurse, and then I started working as a nurse practitioner, in that same ICU. That’s when I started this podcast ‘Walking home from the ICU’ to show what they were doing in the ICU and now it’s turned into ‘how do we revolutionize our normal practices in the ICU?’

KK: I got so much here, first. I never even would have comprehended or would have thought that your initial experience, I didn’t realize that your initial experience was people were able to ambulate and get out of bed and reduce the amount of sedation.

KD: People are gonna say ‘Oh, well, that must have been, you know, long term mentors or not that high acuity’ They were the first ICU to publish the study back in 2007, showing that it was safe and feasible to walk patients on ventilators and in that study, they had PF ratios less than 100.

KK: What that means in nonmedical folk is that your lungs were extremely damaged and require a lot of supplemental oxygen to make sure your saturations are high enough that your oxygen levels are high enough. So, this is the sickest of the sick. From a breathing perspective, getting up and hustling and movement answered. So that is amazing. From a personal side, it must have been an absolute mind F that you couldn’t, that you went from one extreme to the other. I’m doing tell you from my I’ve worked in several ICUs in my country, and the latter is the norm, people aren’t getting up on a ventilator, you know, they’re not getting, they’re barely getting up into a chair on a ventilator.

KD: They aren’t even getting sedation vacations, they’re snowed.

KK: One of my main jobs in the ICU when I walk in is minimize the sedation and even often I’ve seen in practice, they’re getting Dilaudid or opioid infusions for no real reason to be honest with you. They’re not post op. They have no pain syndrome and we’re given pain medication in infusion, which accumulates and what you’re describing to amongst patients, my other job is in palliative care when they get toxic or delirium. Delirium from medication. Yeah, that can be traumatic, these memories, these images. That must have been an absolute frustrating experience to go from one version to the other.

KD: I was just really confused. I mean, I was still I feel like I’m still new in my career and impressionable. No one taught me the why that’s the unfortunate thing about a lot of our medical education is we’re taught how we’re taught task lists, but we’re not taught the why that allow us to critically think and see a bigger picture. I feel like looking back I was really victim to that. I but I would still ask every ICU ‘So, shouldn’t this patient get up? Can I get them up?’ because it I knew that was beneficial. I wanted that and a lot of it for me was, I wanted to see my patients get better. When you’re walking a patient moments later, you know that they’re progressing, you get to connect with them, you get to know who your patients are, I had no idea who my patients were, they were just bodies in the bed. That’s not why I got into medicine. So even just selfishly, I wanted them to be off sedation, had I known that by taking off sedation, we could decrease their seven-day mortality by 68%. Oh, I would have been all over that, but I didn’t know. I did work in one ICU, where they had some level of ABCDEF bundle, which is a protocol to help guide teams to minimize sedation and get patients up. There’s such a spectrum of compliance and different approaches to it. So, I was taught to do an awakening trial, which means you turned on sedation. The purpose really should be to get them off sedation, it should be sedation cessation, but I was taught. So, you know, at five o’clock in the morning, we must turn down sedation, it’s super annoying, I know but just turn it down. Wait to see them thrash – that’s how you know, when you see all their limbs move that they haven’t had a stroke. When you can tell they can’t tolerate the ventilator, then you turn the sedation back on and call it a failed trial, just chart it. I was confused. I didn’t know what the objective was, I didn’t know what we were doing. I didn’t know why they were agitated. For her to say it’s because I can’t tolerate the ventilator. That was confusing to me because I’d seen so many patients tolerate the ventilator. I didn’t understand delirium, and I hated awake new trials. They were laborious, they were stressful, they felt unsafe. It’s hard to see patients between delirium, it’s hard to see them be so uncomfortable, and you can see the terror in their eyes. But again, when in Rome, I just did what I was told, unfortunately. So, this is my journey now is almost my penance for the harm that I caused my patients during those years.

KK: Well, Let’s be honest, Kali, you can’t be looking at it that way, man. We all remember sedation is the norm. What we’re doing now is trying to advocate for change. I can’t emphasize enough the change can be dramatic for people like it really comes down to function. If you in the ICU and you’re paralyzed into intubated on sedation and analgesia, you’re not moving, like you’re not using your muscle. Then when you’re trying to go back to what you want it to where you want it to be. I think a lot about our COVID patients. They were in the 40s/50s/60s, that are trying to get back to working, trying to get back to doing the activities that they love to do. When you think about this not only are you impacting their ability, like they’re not getting to their functional level, but what’s it doing for their family. Now you got a loved one that’s got to take care of them, that might have to take off time off work too. It just is an absolute amplifier when people can’t be functional.

KD: For those that maybe don’t work in the medical field, or even especially those that do, here’s what we’re not talking about the bedside, here’s what we’re not telling patients and families. When we go into surgery, they give us informed consent, they tell us here are the remote risk that things that could happen, right. What we don’t do before intubation for patients and our families is tell them the actual risks of sedation. We don’t understand ourselves that sedation is not sleep, it disrupts the brain activity so severely that they don’t get real REM cycle. So, my perspective is that it’s a form of torture, really, I mean, that’s what we do, and war in the military, we deprive people of sleep, and that’s what we’re doing to our patients when we give medications that make it so they cannot get restorative sleep. Many of our study, sedatives are myotoxic, meaning that they’re toxic to the muscles, so it causes more muscle breakdown. Then on top of that, if there’s absolute disuse when you’re stopped sleeping deeply sedated, you’re not even contracting a muscle usually. So that disuse makes it so that our muscles break down more. That disruption of sleep often caught is one of the mechanisms that causes delirium, which is acute brain failure. It’s an organ dysfunction. That can turn into long term post ICU, dementia, cognitive impairments. So, they cannot return to their normal lives can’t take care of their families can’t go back to their jobs because they can’t. Cognitively their brains can’t function the same way anymore. They have this post ICU PTSD because of those vivid scenarios that they live. I’m not going to call them hallucinations, because that’s, that’s not accurate. Those were real to them. We just don’t see that big picture of sedation, and we just don’t even question and I do that a lot in my life too. They’re things that I’m just taught that I don’t question, but we don’t question whether or not sedation is necessary. Sometimes it is. When we understand how risky it is, then we can do a true risk versus benefit analysis for each patient to say, ‘they’re intubated for this reason, does that necessitate sedation?’ If not, let’s get it off and see what they need. Let them communicate. Let’s prevent delirium. Your platform is all about preventative medicine. In the ICU you come in with one acute critical illness and we sign them up for chronic conditions?

KK: Absolutely, as you said, like it really is about what can we do to prevent this from becoming a chronic condition. Honestly, it’s a culture change, from what I could see. What’s sad about medicine, is that we have data to support how bad things are or how good things are. The amount of time we invest in create that change is limited. If you look at the data for sedation vacation, so that same principle of, turn off someone’s sedation, periodically, that we know that has positive outcomes, like we know that, but you could go through an ICU, throughout any country in North America and the odds are that they’re not getting it routinely. Why doesn’t that happen? That’s why I’m proud of Kali. Number one, being a champion of this, ICU care sucks, but a lot of us that will end up in there. So, we want to be able to optimize care, but also like just doing some about it. It’s one thing to want to bring attention to it but also, being an activist. I think it helps. So, you’ve got the podcast, Kali, you’ve done some other work, how else have you been able to increase awareness? You could even get into like, what the podcast also has done for you or in the people around you?

KD: So with a podcast, I started that right before COVID hit. I don’t know if your god person but I, God told me to start a podcast in December 2019. I barely even listened to podcast didn’t know how to start one, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t rest. I knew exactly that I had to start, I had to put out 32 somewhat episodes by the beginning of March of 2020. I didn’t know why it had to be so fast and so furious, and survivors came out of nowhere. I interviewed my colleagues, researchers, it was just this miraculous setup that just came together, put out all these episodes, and then COVID hit. I thought ‘well now it’s all gonna be all about COVID, and no one’s gonna care about this’. God back handed me and said, ‘This is for COVID They’re gonna be millions of people on ventilators, how is this not relevant to COVID’. So, I continue to throw out COVID Even though I recognize that the ICU community was not really in a place to revolutionize. The hard thing is that this could have been so beneficial to COVID we created more work for ourselves with the sedation practices, you talked about awakening and breathing trials. Once I just looked at only wake & breathing trial started sedation, turn it off once a day and then turn it back on. Decrease ventilator days, by 2.4 days, days in the ICU decreased by three days in that hospital decreased by 6.3 days, when we’re in a staffing crisis, we need to have a process of care that’s efficient actually gets patients out of the ICU. Instead, we created this bottleneck where patients are now stuck on the ventilator because they’re too weak to breathe on their own. Even if their lungs are better. Now they need tracheostomies. They’re stuck in a ventilator. We can’t at least in the States, we couldn’t get them to LTACH because LTACH’s were too full of all the other COVID long term patients. So, then the ICU wasn’t rehabilitating these patients, and so then they develop more hospital complications, and then they ended up needing more care. It’s just we created so much more work for ourselves. It just was a hard time to really take on a new endeavor and totally change your practices. But during COVID, everyone ran back to the 90s. Not everyone but a lot of people ran back to the 90s. As far as using benzodiazepines, higher doses of sedation, deeper sedation longer times, there was so much fear. We did a lot of fear-based medicine. So, I just kept chugging along with my podcast, knowing that the community was going to need healing after all of this. We were going to need a lot of rehabilitation within our own clinicians, but also within our practices. So now, teams are coming to me saying what we’re doing now. We’re still doing COVID care even these are not COVID patients, we’re still we’re back to deeply sedated patients. Where are we lost so many seasoned clinicians, new clinicians came in during COVID. They’ve been trained to deep deep, deeply sedate, they don’t know how to move patients they’re scared to. But one team said I look on my ICU It’s not an ICU, these aren’t ICU patients. These are LTACH patients. These are rehab patients that we’re not rehabilitating. We’re bottlenecked. We can’t get these patient outpatients out, we can’t get new patients, we’re stuck. We’re creating that kind of scenario. So now, I work as a consultant and I do training with the teams, I teach them the why the reality of delirium, giving them a picture of an awake & walking ICU using real case studies, pictures, videos, so that we have a vision of what could be I feel like the ABCDEF bundle when it was rolled out in the mid 2000’s good change happened, a lot of things moved forward. I do feel like we didn’t explain fully the why behind it. Until every ICU clinician hears the voice of survivors, they won’t be afraid of sedation, they’ll still be inclined. We started, we continued this start sedation automatically, then at some subjective point down the road, start to take it off, when they come out, agitated, turn it back on, we just didn’t, we didn’t give them this perspective of ‘Hey, most patients should be awakened walking. Here’s how to treat delirium and here’s how the team works together’ we put a lot of it on nurses, which is not fair, feasible or sustainable. So, as I work with teams, I tried to really give them a foundation of why, and then how, how to treat patients without automatically sedating them. When the sedation necessary. How do we navigate appropriate and safe sedation practices? When do we use it? How do we mobilize patients, I go on site with teams and I do simulation training, we do real case studies and practice and the whole team practices together. Because it’s a skill set, we think about pronation, when we started printing patients, everyone was terrified. And it took so many people and it took so long, you know watching every little line and now teams flip them like pancakes, right? It becomes a skill set. So, I tried to get them opportunity to practice that on a pretend patient. So, they can think through critically think through the scenario, think through delirium, thanks for ICU acquired weakness, then practice mobilizing patients with different levels of mobility.

KK: My brain is going like, the whole time, it’s like you need to come see our group.

KD: Let’s do it. I’ll hope on a plane tomorrow – I can’t actually. I’m going to Kentucky tomorrow, but let me know I’ll be there!

KK: We would absolutely love to have you. Just knowing where a lot of clinicians lack is hearing the voice of the people that have gone through it. Clearly, that’s been a motivator for you in terms of why we need to pivot and provide less sedation to our patients and mobilize our patients and avoid them from having all these secondary complications as a result of being immobile. The means are there.

KD: The data is strong; the data is really powerful. I mean, decreased mortality by 68%. Who doesn’t want to do that, right? So, but almost even more powerful are the voices survivors, when you hear their voices in your head when you’re sitting in a patient. It’s haunting COVID, there were times when patients could not oxygenate the movement. I had to sedate them. I hated it. I just felt sick because I, I just didn’t know what they were experiencing. I didn’t know if they were in pain. I didn’t know what was going on underneath that they were going to live with us the rest of our lives, it’s because of the survivors that have interviewed on my podcast, they are the educators.

KK: Yeah, I have so many ideas going through my head. I would love after when we jump off, links to the some of the episodes from the survivors that we can pass along to our group, to our show in general, but our group to give a sense of what it really is like to go through this. Yeah, our patients don’t come I mean, every once in a while we get a patient come back and say how they’re doing but they don’t give us the they don’t give us the negative side, they really focus on showing some gratitude.

KD: Which is good, but if they came back, it’s probably because they weren’t too traumatized to come back. The ones that don’t come back. I mean, why would you go back to the place that you are sexually assaulted?

KK: Yeah, no, yeah

KD: It’s like to trigger and some people can’t even go the same street as that hospital. On my website under the resources tab, the clinician podcast, at the bottom, the page is organized by topics. One of those topics is survivors of sedation and mobility, as well as survivors of an awake & walk ICU. So, you can hear their different perspectives and testimonies, it’s organized by different topics.

KK: You’re an organized cat, I’m looking at it right now. I can tell you, you’re very structured and organized just by the way your website is set up. It’s on point.

KD: It’s curriculum. This is education, this is not just a hobby. I mean, this is we’ve got to make sure we get the right information to the right people.

KK: You’re so boss. You’re gonna be running an organization one day, and ICU, I don’t know. I see big things for you.

KD: We’ll see. I mean, I have a lot of optimism for the future of critical care, going to conferences, meeting with people at the bedside podcast listeners reaching out. It’s not just me that cares about this. That’s why I continue is that there are so many people that I call revolutionists, sometimes as the lone voice in their ICUs. But they’re bringing big changes, they’re making waves there so my motivation with podcasts is to provide the ammo, the quiver the arrows in their quiver, so that they can share that with their colleagues get more buy in, so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It’s a lot to change a perspective and change a culture. It’s hard.

KK: Yeah, and maybe just seeking some advice, we had Dr. Wes Ely on the show and how to create some culture change around this issue. I want to hear your perspective. Kali, how do you think you do create that culture change? Because you bring this up to many staff, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, they’re gonna extubate themselves? Oh, we’re short staffed. This is not gonna be able to work.’ What are your thoughts?

KD: Yeah, this has been a lot of my journey is figuring out what are the barriers? and how do we address them? I think we’re over the checklists. I think it is important to systemize and protocolized our practices. When we implement these kinds of changes, we this can’t just be “Hey, Nurse, take off the sedation’ that is not going to work. They have some valid fears at all I had ever seen. With a patient coming off sedation. After days, two weeks of sedation, I would have a lot of inhibitions. When I’m busy. I don’t have time to wrangle that patient. I don’t have time to make sure they don’t self extubate. I have a

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whole episode on unplanned extubations, but delirium increases the chances of unplanned extubations by 11 times. So, it’s just changing the perspective understanding what is delirium? why should we be panicked about it? What causes it? We are practices are some of the biggest risk factors and culprits of delirium in the ICU, and to learn doubles that are in hours required for care. So, when we’re short staffed, why would we create a delirium factory? When it doubles our workload? It doesn’t make sense, but when that’s all we know, we don’t understand that there’s a better way to do it. So, my approach when I go to help a team have culture change is to, again explain the ‘why’ give a perspective of what could be, here’s what patients can be like, when we don’t sedate them. If they when they wake up after intubation, it’s like coming out of a colonoscopy. Endotracheal tubes not comfortable. Here are some tools to help make it more comfortable. Here’s how we can talk to them. Give them a pen and paper, I would get agitated and panicked. I couldn’t communicate. Here’s how you involve the family, here’s the toolbox to help you succeed and have that patient be calm & compliant. And they will protect their tubes. I’ve had patients write ‘please be careful my tube’ That’s what I need to experience. So, when you find a couple of case that isn’t so easy hits, easy wins. Allow your team to see a patient awake, communicative, calm in even more while on the ventilator, the perspective starts to shift. Then they start to ask, okay, that was easy. That was fun. That changed outcomes. They walked up the ICU. Who else can we do this on and it starts to have a domino effect. So suddenly, we expect him to just shut up and do it. That’s, that’s not going to cut it. I don’t think that I think that’s partially why the ABCDEF bundle rollout, years ago was not has kind of gone away, because we didn’t provide the why. We also, again, I think starting sedation, and then taking off later, is a lot of work. We should only do that if it’s absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I mean, I have an episode with a hospital in Denmark, they do the same thing and that allow patients to wake up right after intubation. They are so much easier, more compliant, because they don’t have delirium, we have to understand that that agitation is usually rooted in delirium, we have to come to really be terrified of delirium.

KK: I’m really enjoying this, I’m really liking this because it’s even at that added perspective of saying, ‘Hey, your workload is going to be worse if people are delirious, so let’s avoid going delirious in the first place’ Let’s just get a grip on this bad boy, out of the gate.

KD: You’re all about preventative and it’s like, Let’s prevent one of the biggest culprits of mortality. Delirium doubles the risk of dying in the hospital. So, people say we don’t have time to mess with all sedation practices, like let’s just sedate them and like, save their lives and figure it out later. No. By doing that, by increasing the risk of delirium, we could double their chances of dying. So, if we care about mortality, then we will care about our sedation practices. We also know that ICU acquired weakness is really laborious. When people imagine mobilizing patients on ventilators. What they’re imagining is taking off sedation days to weeks later when they’re delirious. They can barely lift a finger and now we’re trying to mobilize these, you know, 200 plus pound adults to the side of the bed. That’s dangerous, laborious, it takes so many people. If a patient walks into the ICU or into the hospital, hypoxic hypotensive, whatever. We have moments later, we haven’t stabilized. Why can’t they walk? Did we cut their legs off? Right? So, once we have oxygenated, perfused, what’s the harm in sitting outside of the bed and seeing how they do when they’re not delirious, they can tell us how they’re feeling. We can provide more support on the ventilator; they can probably walk better than they did come in and hypoxic. Once they’re stabilized hours later, or even 24 hours later. So that is so much easier when they maintain their ability to walk. So, in the COVID ICU, many patients were standby assists to the chair with a nurse while they were on a ventilator, because they’re alone in the room, right? Physical therapy could go in and work with a patient, just scoot the ventilator wall to wall as they’re stuck in their rooms, help them stand or sit, step on steps, they were alone in that room with these patients, because they were strong enough to do it, because we didn’t allow them to be under myotoxic sedation and I would say rot in the bed. So, all of that plays into an ease of workload. Then obviously the get off the ventilator sooner, get out of the ICU sooner. It makes the workload easier. So, it’s a little bit of an exchange and efforts in some ways. Yes, you must talk to a patient. Yes, you must assess them a little bit more. But also, could during COVID, I was hearing about swapping out propofol bottles every hour, picking up to go in and out to titrate vasopressors that we were getting just because of the sedative and hypotensive effects. All of that is effort but wasn’t necessary and wasn’t beneficial.

KK: I’m telling you, you are changing the boogie. Yeah, changing the conversation and perspective. This is something that can dramatically impact patient care. If we could get the buy in, in the culture. Wow.

KD: You know, people will say ‘Well, we don’t have we’re trying to save $25 million this year. We can’t afford to pay our payer clinician some extra time for education or whatnot’ The ABCDEF bundle, even in their spectrum of compliance, decreased healthcare costs by 24 to 30%.

KK: Oh, yeah.

KD: ICU acquired weakness increases healthcare costs by I want to say 30-40%. Delirium increases healthcare costs by 40%. ICU acquired weakness increases healthcare costs by 30.5%. So, by having a process of care that prevent those complications with decreased healthcare costs. So why wouldn’t we, right?

KK: 100%. We even we had a paper out last year showing the financial impacts of ICU delirium. We always think to have the opportunity cost, that money could be diverted into more staffing, more resources for physio, optimizing nutrition, all these things can be enhanced. If we, if we make it a priority.

KD: I think it’s one of our one of our strongest cards to play for staff, safe staffing ratios. To say staff is better, we’ll get better care in this using this protocol. We will save you so much money so it’s investing thousands to save millions or billions.

KK: I love it. You’re speaking my language. We are definitely going to have you back in some capacity. I don’t know that for some reason. It’s not just gonna be the show. I really want to get you talking to our group. Maybe regional rounds, or something. I don’t know what it’s gonna be. It’s something that we need to hear more of talked about the patient experience, your own experience and the drive like what’s pushing this. Knowing my people a lot of intensivists and an ICU nurses and allied health professionals, we want to achieve this, get our patients to a point where they are better. Really better, not just alive, but thriving. This starts here. I really do believe it starts here. So I just want to give number one, Kali some mad love on what you’re doing and continue to hustle, it’s paying off. Second. How do people get to know you a little bit more? and about the show and the consulting and so forth?

KD: So, have a website There’s more information about consulting services available, the podcast is on there, the podcast has transcriptions and citations organized by topics.

KK: So organized folks.

KD: 116 episodes, and I really didn’t even know how much of a what’s called a rabbit hole that this would become. There’s so much to learn about the science behind what we’re doing as well as the patient and clinician perspective. So, check that out, find the topics. If nothing else start at the beginning. I think the beginning lays a foundation, I was very intentional about how I organized it at the beginning to lay a foundation of ‘why’ and ‘how’ comes later. I’m on Instagram @daytonicuconsulting, Twitter, Tik Tok. Go ahead and set up a consultation with me send me an email and we can chat about your team, your barriers, even your family members what’s going on? I’m obviously obsessed. So, I’m here for you! let me know.

KK: So good. So good. Thank you so much for joining us. Those on the chat group or that are watching live. You want a piece of this episode just tap NL into the chatbox will give you a copy the video and the end the podcast when it’s released. Awesome work. Congratulations.

KD: Thanks for caring about this.

KK: 100%

KK: Kwadcast nation that’s exactly what I’m talking about changing the boogie right here in ICU care. Follow us on Instagram, YouTube Tiktok Facebook @Kwadcast Leave any comments at [email protected], subscribe to our newsletter. Essentially, it’s like a membership you want to know more about Kwadcast nation. Go to Check it out. Leave that five-star rating and continue to allow us to change boogie in unison. Take care, peace. We love you.

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