Early identification of patient deterioration is key to intervening for serious conditions like sepsis. However, early indicators can present subtly, making detection difficult and subjective.
Adding complexity, there are often several signs or symptoms that—when they present together—can indicate the onset of a condition far more serious than what may be diagnosed by just looking at one of those signs or symptoms individually. Connecting the dots to see the complete picture becomes vital to enabling faster, more informed decisions on providing care.
General care floors are faced with several unique challenges in early detection of patient deterioration.
How can general care departments improve early detection without drastically disrupting existing clinical workflows?
Research suggests that the signs and symptoms of clinical deterioration can be detected as early as six to eight hours before an event or arrest.1 However, physiological signs and symptoms of clinical deterioration can be difficult to detect in early stages.
The use of early warning scores—especially automated scores, as opposed to manual calculations—has been shown to improve effectiveness.
It can seem daunting to incorporate a process for collecting the information important to detecting patient deterioration—and put it to use to aid in clinical decision support. An approach to consider is making this an integral and intuitive part of the vital signs collection process that clinicians perform every day.
Welch Allyn Connex® vital signs devices can help hospitals combine vital signs measurement with the collection of additional patient observational information—all in a single workflow.
As med/surg departments continue to care for higher-acuity patients, they need intuitive tools to help them identify signs of patient deterioration—and align with existing workflows. The use of automated early warning scores, such as those featured in Welch Allyn Connex vital signs devices, can help provide the timely decision support clinicians need to respond to patient changes right at the bedside.
1. Utilization of Electronic Modified Early Warning Score to Engage Rapid Response Team Early in Clinical Deterioration; Melody A. Rose, DNP, RN; Lee Ann Hanna, PhD, RN; Sareda A. Nur, MD; Constance M. Johnson, PhD, RN. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development & Volume 31, Issue 3.
2. Parker, C. J. (2014). Decision-making models used by medical-surgical nurses to activate rapid response teams. MedSurg Nursing, 23(3), 159-164.
3. Ludikhuize, J., Borgert, M., Binnekade, J., Subbe, C., Dongelmans, D., & Goossens, A. (2014). Standardized measurement of the Modified Early Warning Score results in enhanced implementation of a Rapid Response System: A quasi-experimental study. Resuscitation, 85(2014): 676-82.
4. Ennis, L. (2014). Paediatric early warning scores on a children’s ward: a quality improvement initiative. Nursing Children and Young People, 26(7): 25-31.