University Hospitals Recognized for Exceptional and Quality Care of Patients in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Only cardiac unit in Ohio designated a Gold Beacon Unit of Excellence by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

The Edna & Thomas F. Zenty Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center has received recognition for its excellence in professional practice, as well as providing the highest level of patient care and optimal outcomes.
The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) bestows the gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence to hospital units that employ evidence-based practices to improve results that affect both patients and families. Currently, the CICU at UH Cleveland Medical Center is the only cardiac intensive care unit with this gold designation in the state of Ohio. Gold-level is the highest status offered by AACN.
“We are proud of our nurses, physicians, and the entire Edna & Thomas F. Zenty Cardiac Intensive Care Unit team,” said Mehdi Shishehbor, DO, MPH, PhD, President of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, and Angela and James Hambrick Chair in Innovation. “The CICU provides care to the sickest of our patients and this recognition once again confirms UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute’s commitment to excellence.”
The gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence signifies an effective and systematic approach to policies, procedures and processes that include engagement of staff and key stakeholders; fact-based evaluation strategies for continuous process improvement; and performance measures that meet or exceed relevant benchmarks. UH Cleveland Medical Center’s CICU earned a gold award by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award for Excellence criteria:
  • Leadership Structures and Systems
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
  • Effective Communication, Knowledge Management, and Learning and Development
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
  • Outcome Measurement
“Being designated as a Beacon unit underscores our team’s ongoing commitment to providing safe, patient-centered and evidence-based care,” said Stephen Dropcho, nurse manager of the CICU at UH Cleveland Medical Center. “Recognition with an award is an honor, and our whole team is proud of setting such a high standard, but as caregivers, we provide the best care because it’s our passion and the right thing to do for our patients.”
Brian Pentsa is one of those patients. The generally healthy 46-year-old husband and father of three woke up one night with shortness of breath which spiraled into a life-threatening cardiac emergency that landed him in the CICU. Atrial fibrillation quickly turned into cardiogenic shock and heart failure.
“During the week we were in the CICU, we were so well taken care of,” said Pentsa, referring to himself and also his wife Adrienne who never left his side. “I feel like I did get award winning care. The doctors and nurses constantly checked to ensure I was comfortable. I never felt neglected or forgotten, even when the unit was busy. They went above and beyond to make sure we understood the different medications and the best plan forward. Everyone was approachable and kind and had good communication which we so much appreciated. It made it easier for me to relax and heal.”
Two months after his initial CICU stay, Pentsa underwent an ablation and is expected to make a full recovery. He looks forward to returning as his kids’ coach at sporting events.
“We want all of our patients to have as positive an experience as Mr. Pentsa,” said Michael Zacharias, DO, cardiologist; associate clinical chief of cardiovascular medicine at UH Cleveland Medical Center; and medical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program for UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute. “With this designation, patients who need us can trust they are receiving the highest quality care delivered with compassion.”
Beacon-designated units meet criteria consistent with other national awards, including the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and National Quality Forum’s Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality awards. This award lasts for a three-year term.

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