Clinical practice must be continuously assessed to ensure that the most current evidence-based practices are implemented and evaluated for impact. Continuous quality improvement is a process in which practice is appraised to verify that patient care is efficient and safe, thus leading to improved outcomes. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to improve outcomes in patients in our intensive care unit (ICU) who had undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and/or valve surgery. Data were collected on the following outcomes: mean length of stay, hours of mechanical ventilation, and early mobilization of patients.

After patients’ outcomes were compared with national benchmark data, standardizing patient care on the basis of evidence and best practices was deemed essential. During consultation of the literature, it was found that fast-tracking or rapid recovery processes were used in many facilities. This process yielded improved outcomes...

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