Aim: To determine whether the introduction of a multi-faceted intervention (newly designed ward observation chart, a track and trigger system and an associated education program, COMPASS) to detect clinical deterioration in patients would decrease the rate of predefined adverse outcomes.
Methods: A prospective, controlled before-and-after intervention of trial was conducted in all consecutive adult patients admitted to four medical and surgical wards during a 4 month period, 1157 and 985, respectively. A sub-group of patients underwent vital sign and medical review analysis pre-intervention (427) and post-intervention (320). The outcome measures included: number of unplanned admissions to the intensive care unit (ICU), Medical Emergency Team (MET) reviews and unexpected hospital deaths, vital sign documentation frequency and incidence of a medical review following clinical deterioration. This study is registered, ACTRN12609000808246.
Results: Reductions were seen in unplanned admissions to ICU (21/1157 [1.8%] vs. 5/985 [0.5%], p=0.006) and unexpected hospital deaths (11/1157 [1.0%] vs. 2/985 [0.2%], p=0.03) during the intervention period. Medical reviews for patients with significant clinical instability (58/133 [43.6%] vs. 55/79 [69.6%] p<0.001) and number of patients receiving a MET review increased (25/1157 [2.2%] vs. 38/985 [3.9%] p=0.03) during the intervention period. Mean daily frequency of documentation of all vital signs increased during the intervention period (3.4 [SE 0.22] vs. 4.5 [SE 0.17], p=0.001).
Conclusion: The introduction of a multi-faceted intervention to detect clinical deterioration may benefit patients through increased monitoring of vital signs and the triggering of a medical review following an episode of clinical instability.
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