A prospective controlled trial of the effect of a multi-faceted intervention on early recognition and intervention in deteriorating hospital patients

Resuscitation. 2010 Jun;81(6):658-66. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 Apr 7.


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.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Education, Continuing
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospital Rapid Response Team
  • Humans
  • Inpatients* / statistics & numerical data
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vital Signs