A PICU patient safety checklist: rate of utilization and impact on patient care

Int J Qual Health Care. 2016 Jun;28(3):371-5. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzw042. Epub 2016 Apr 18.


Objective: In healthcare, checklists help to ensure patients receive evidence-based, safe care. Since 2007, we have used a bedside checklist in our PICU to facilitate daily discussion of care-related questions at each bedside. The primary objective of this study was to assess compliance with checklist use and to assess how often individual checklist elements affected patient management. A secondary objective was to determine whether patient and unit factors (severity of illness, unit census, weekday vs. weekend, admitting diagnosis group) influenced checklist use.

Design: This was a prospective observational study. A research assistant attended daily bedside rounds to collect data at each eligible patient encounter.

Setting: The study was conducted in the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) PICU, a 12-bed cardiac and medical-surgical unit.

Participants: Included all patients admitted to the PICU prior to 6 am and who were not being discharged that day.

Intervention: A bedside rounds checklist.

Main outcome measures: Included compliance and whether the checklist affected the patient's management plan.

Results: A total of 148 encounters were collected on 28 days between September 2013 and February 2014. Compliance with the checklist was 89.2% (132/148; 95% CI 83.2-93.2%) and was not influenced by admitting diagnosis group, patient census, severity of patient's conditions or weekday/weekend status. The checklist affected the patient management plan 52.6% of the time (69/132; 95% CI 44.2-61%).

Conclusions: Our study found high rates of compliance with an established checklist that has been in use in the PICU since 2007. Checklist use frequently resulted in a change in the patient management plan.

Keywords: best practice guidelines; checklist; intensive care units; patient safety; pediatrics; quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Checklist / statistics & numerical data*
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ontario
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index