The mean age was 60.6 years (SD = 15.9; range = 16-87). Medicare was the primary payor source for 61 patients (45 percent) (Fig 2). The average length of hospitalization for these patients was 26.6 days (SD = 26; range 1-183). One-hundred seven (78 percent) of the patients received mechanical ventilation for an average of 16.2 days (SD = 17.3; range = 1-106). At the time of admission to the unit, ventilator-dependent patients fell into two groups—patients considered to have weaning potential who required a protracted weaning course (approximately 75 percent), and unweanable patients who required either terminal care or arrangements for long-term care outside the hospital (approximately 25 percent). Patients who were not ventilator dependent received either intensive monitoring or therapy. Examples include patients in status asthmaticus requiring intensive bronchodilator therapies, and patients with obstructive sleep apnea undergoing monitoring during the application of nasal continuous positive airway pressure support.
There were 108 in-house transfers to the NRCU; 64 originated from the MICU (47 percent of total NRCU admissions), 37 from the general medical units (27 percent), and 7 from the surgical intensive therapy unit (5 percent).
Figure 2. Primary payor sources for NRCU patients.