What is a Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP)?
For our public reporting purposes, ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) is defined as a pneumonia (lung infection) occurring in patients in an intensive care unit (ICU), requiring, external mechanical breathing support (a ventilator) intermittently or continuously, through a breathing tube for more than 48 hours.
VAP can develop in patients for many reasons. Because they are relying on an external machine to breath, their normal coughing, yawning, and deep breath reflexes are suppressed. Furthermore, they may have a depressed immune system, making them more vulnerable to infection. ICU teams have many ways to try to assist patients with these normal breathing reflexes, but despite this, patients are still at risk for developing pneumonia.
What can patients do to help reduce their chances of infection?
Frequent hand cleaning is a good way to prevent the spread of infection. Hand hygiene involves everyone in the hospital, including patients.