Management of ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care units: A mixed methods study assessing barriers and facilitators to guideline adherence

Nasia Safdar, Jackson S. Musuuza, Anping Xie, Ann Schoofs Hundt, Matthew Hall, Kenneth Wood, Pascale Carayon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America/The American Thoracic Society (IDSA/ATS) provide recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). However, the mere presence of guidelines is rarely sufficient to promote widespread adoption and uptake. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model framework, we undertook a study to understand barriers and facilitators to the adoption of the IDSA/ATS guidelines. Methods: We conducted surveys and focus group discussions of different health care providers involved in the management of VAP. The setting was medical-surgical ICUs at a tertiary academic hospital and a large multispecialty rural hospital in Wisconsin, USA. Results: Overall, we found that 55 % of participants indicated that they were aware of the IDSA/ATS guideline. The top ranked barriers to VAP management included: 1) having multiple physician groups managing VAP, 2) variation in VAP management by differing ICU services, 3) physicians and level of training, and 4) renal failure complicating doses of antibiotics. Facilitators to VAP management included presence of multidisciplinary rounds that include nurses, pharmacist and respiratory therapists, and awareness of the IDSA/ATS guideline. This awareness was associated with receiving effective training on management of VAP, keeping up to date on nosocomial infection literature, and belief that performing a bronchoscopy to diagnose VAP would help with expeditious diagnosis of VAP. Conclusions: Findings from our study complement existing studies by identifying perceptions of the many different types of healthcare workers in ICU settings. These findings have implications for antibiotic stewardship teams, clinicians, and organizational leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number349
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 22 2016


  • Barriers and facilitators
  • Guidelines
  • Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety
  • VAP
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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