Background: Hospitalized pediatric oncology patients are at high risk of clinical decline and mortality, particularly in resource-limited settings. Pediatric early warning systems (PEWS) aid in the early identification of clinical deterioration; however, there are limited data regarding their feasibility or impact in low-resource settings. This study describes the successful implementation of PEWS at the Unidad Nacional de Oncología Pediátrica (UNOP), a pediatric oncology hospital in Guatemala, resulting in improved inpatient outcomes.
Methods: A modified PEWS was implemented at UNOP with systems to track errors, transfers to a higher level of care, and high scores. A retrospective cohort study was used to evaluate clinical deterioration events in the year before and after PEWS implementation.
Results: After PEWS implementation at UNOP, there was 100% compliance with PEWS documentation and an error rate of <10%. Implementation resulted in 5 high PEWS per week, with 30% of patients transferring to a higher level of care. Among patients requiring transfer to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), 93% had an abnormal PEWS before transfer. The rate of clinical deterioration events decreased after PEWS implementation (9.3 vs 6.5 per 1000-hospitalpatient-days, p = .003). Despite an 18% increase in total hospital patient-days, PICU utilization for inpatient transfers decreased from 1376 to 1088 PICU patient-days per year (21% decrease; P<.001).
Conclusions: This study describes the successful implementation of PEWS in a pediatric oncology hospital in Guatemala, resulting in decreased inpatient clinical deterioration events and PICU utilization. This work demonstrates that PEWS is a feasible and effective quality improvement measure to improve hospital care for children with cancer in hospitals with limited resources. Cancer 2017;123:2965-74. © 2017 American Cancer Society.
Keywords: global health; pediatric early warning system (PEWS); pediatric intensive care; pediatric oncology; quality improvement.
© 2017 American Cancer Society.