The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing a $10 million grant to investigate better ways of managing sedation for children on life-saving ventilators. The grant, the largest in the schools history, will be devoted to conducting one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken in pediatric critical care.
The children, who will range in age from infant to 18 years, are typically the victims of trauma or are often critically ill, requiring the insertion of ventilation tubes into the throat to assist breathing. The study will involve more than 2,750 patients in 18 pediatric hospitals in the United States and Canada.
Our goal is to tightly manage sedation so that children can be weaned from mechanical ventilators earlier, says Associate Professor of Nursing Martha A.Q. Curley, RN, PhD, the principal investigator of the study. Too much sedation can actually prolong hospital stays by preventing the body from healing quickly and can cause health issues such as overdependence on medication.
The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Nursing Research of the NIH, will be conducted over five years. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., is among the 18 study sites.