Home » About Us » News » 2012 News » Kenmore Mercy First Hospital in Buffalo Area Honored with Beacon Award

September 7, 2012

Sandra Conti, RN, Michael Gough, MD, Irene McNeill, RN, and Mark Weinsheimer, Respiratory Therapist, members of the interdisciplinary ICU team, review a case.

Sandra Conti, RN, Michael Gough, MD, Irene McNeill, RN, and Mark Weinsheimer, Respiratory Therapist, members of the interdisciplinary ICU team, review a case.

Intensive Care Unit Recognized for Care

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, a member of Catholic Health, has earned the 2012 Silver Beacon Award for Excellence, presented by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) to recognize the nation’s highest performing hospital intensive care units.

It is the first hospital in the Buffalo area, and one of only five in New York State, to receive this award, which is given to ICUs that consistently exhibit high quality standards, exceptional care of patients and families, and healthy work environments.

Created to recognize individual nursing care units that distinguish themselves in the care of patients and their families, the Beacon Award for Excellence is a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and a healthy work environment. The three-year designation, presented in bronze, silver and gold categories, recognizes ICUs that meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

Critical Care Team

“The Silver Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes the high level of care provided to patients by our interdisciplinary critical care team that cares for our most seriously ill patients each and every day,” said Veronica Valazza, RN, nurse manager for Kenmore Mercy’s 16-bed ICU.  “We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality patient care outcomes, through essential staff training and effective recruitment and retention of our nurses.”

The critical care team is comprised of physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, nursing attendants, patient care managers, clinical educators, respiratory therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, physical therapists, chaplains, and clerks. 

Criteria for Award

According to AACN, the award signifies continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care. The AACN singled out Kenmore Mercy for meeting the following evidence-based criteria:

  • Leadership structures and systems
  • Appropriate staffing and staff engagement
  • Effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development, best practices
  • Evidence-based practice and processes
  • Patient outcomes

The AACN requires that national standards and benchmarks for quality and safety in the delivery of critical care medicine are met and exceeded for the Beacon Award to be granted. Ventilator-associated pneumonia, hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, patient falls, blood culture contamination, and catheter-related sepsis are just a few of the quality indicators the AACN reviews in evaluating a critical care unit for a Beacon Award.

Patient Outcomes Exceed National Benchmarks

Patient outcomes in Kenmore Mercy’s ICU consistently exceed national benchmarks.

“This award validates the expertise, hard work and dedication of every member of our interdisciplinary critical care team. We are proud and honored to serve our community,” added Michael S. Gough, MD, FCCP, an intensivist in the unit. “We focus on teamwork to provide safe, high-quality and cutting edge critical care.”

The Beacon Award comes weeks after Kenmore Mercy received the prestigious Pathway To Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which recognized the hospital’s commitment to nursing professionalism, staff development, research-based practice, and patient-centered care.