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Resuscitation. 2013 Aug;84(8):1040-4. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2013.01.022. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

A review of rapid response team activation parameters in New Zealand hospitals.

Author information

1
Intensive Care Specialist, Intensive Care Unit, Wellington Regional Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand. alex.psirides@ccdhb.org.nz

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review current systems for recognising and responding to clinically deteriorating patients in all New Zealand public hospitals.

DESIGN:

A cross-sectional study of recognition and response systems in all New Zealand public hospitals was conducted in October 2011. Copies of all current vital sign charts and/or relevant policies were requested. These were examined for vital sign based recognition and response systems. The charts or policies were also used to determine the type of system in use and the vital sign parameters and trigger thresholds that provoke a call to the rapid response team.

SETTING:

All New Zealand District Health Boards (DHBs).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Physiological parameters used to trigger rapid response, the weighting of any early warning score assigned to them, type of system used, values of physiological derangement that trigger maximal system response.

RESULTS:

All DHBs use aggregate scoring systems to assess deterioration and respond. A total of 9 different physiological parameters were scored with most charts (21%) scoring 6 different parameters. All scored respiratory rate, heart rate, systolic blood pressure and conscious level. 86% scored oliguria, 14% polyuria, 33% oxygen saturation and 24% oxygen administration. All systems used either aggregate scores or a single extreme parameter to elicit a maximal system response. The extremes of physiological derangement to which scores were assigned varied greatly with bradypnoea having the greatest range for what was considered grossly abnormal.

CONCLUSION:

A large variance exists in the criteria used to detect deteriorating patients within New Zealand hospitals. Standardising both the vital signs chart and escalation criteria is likely to be of significant benefit in the early detection of and response to patient deterioration.

KEYWORDS:

Deteriorating patient; Early warning score; Observation charts; Rapid response team

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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