The ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support

The ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support recognizes ECLS programs worldwide that distinguish themselves by having processes, procedures and systems in place that promote excellence and exceptional care in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.


ELSO’s goal is to recognize and honor ECLS programs that reach the highest level of performance, innovation, satisfaction and quality.

A designated Center of Excellence has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the following three categories:

1. Excellence in promoting the mission, activities, and vision of ELSO;

2. Excellence in patient care by using the highest quality measures, processes, and structures based upon evidence; and

3. Excellence in training, education, collaboration, and communication supporting ELSO guidelines that contributes to a healing environment for families, patients and staff.


The application is a multi-focus assessment of an ECLS Center. It was developed based on the ELSO Guidelines for New ECLS Programs and the ELSO Guidelines for Training and Education. ECLS Centers that wish to achieve the Center of Excellence designation should use these guidelines and go above and beyond expectations. Centers must be experienced in patient care with established policies and procedures. They should have a comprehensive, in-depth training and education process, as well as a defined family education program. Centers must incorporate highly developed quality initiatives and continuously review processes within their program. Outcome reviews must be demonstrated as an integral component of their organization.

The application is divided into seven sections:

1. Systems Focus – the ECLS Center provides generalized information about your institution

2. Environmental Focus – the Center provides information about the facility and equipment available for ECLS

3. Workforce Focus – the center describes the personnel caring for the patient

4. Knowledge Management – the Center provides information on the ECLS Team training and competencies

5. Quality Focus – the Center provides evidence regarding continuous quality improvement activities

6. Process Optimization – the Center provides information concerning outcome reviews and developmentally focused care

7. Patient &Family Focus – the Center describes the family education and participation in care


Centers may apply for the ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support after meeting entry criteria. A Center must be an ELSO member in good standing for at least 3 years; must have supported an average of five (5) patients per year for the past 5 years; and, must have reported all patients to the ELSO registry.

After meeting these requirements, a Center may complete the ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support application. A minimum score must be achieved on the application in order to be designated as a Center of Excellence. The application is reviewed and scored in seven categories; the score is received using a standardized Award Scoring Tool based on a five (5) point Likert Scale. Each question is scored and the total score is tabulated.

The ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support has an entry-level application process for those new ECLS programs that desire a review of their initial processes, such as equipment, personnel and training. These programs are invested in following the ELSO guidelines. Additionally, the minimum requirements for applying for this review must be met. A Center must be an ELSO member in good standing and although there is no minimum patient requirement, all patients treated with ECLS must be reported to ELSO.

After meeting these requirements, the new ECLS program may complete the application for the Path to Excellence recognition. Achieving the Path to Excellence recognition allows the ECLS program to continue forward with patient care and the development of a robust quality review program that should allow them to meet criteria to apply for the ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support designation.


The ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support signifies to patients and families a commitment to exceptional patient care. It demonstrates to the health care community an assurance of high quality standards, specialized equipment and supplies, defined patient protocols, and advanced education of all staff members.

ECLS Centers may use the award to market themselves as distinguished leaders in critical care as it provides evidence of the commitment of the institution to high quality state of the art healthcare. The ELSO Award of Excellence is recognized by the US News and World Report and Parents magazine as one criterion for top institutions.

The ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support is valid for a three-year period. This designation is an honorary one and does not indicate a certification by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.