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Frequency of vital sign assessment and clinical deterioration in an Australian emergency department

Version 2 2024-06-03, 23:54
Version 1 2016-11-16, 14:23
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 23:54 authored by K Lambe, Judy CurreyJudy Currey, Julie ConsidineJulie Considine
BACKGROUND: Understanding of clinical deterioration of emergency department patients is rapidly evolving. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency and nature of vital sign collection and clinical deterioration in emergency care. METHODS: A descriptive exploratory approach was used. Data were collected from the records of 200 randomly selected adults with presenting complaints of abdominal pain, shortness of breath, chest pain and febrile illness from 1 January to 31 December 2014 at a 22 bed emergency department in Melbourne, Australia. RESULTS: When controlled for length of stay, heart rate was the most frequently assessed vital sign per hour (median=0.9) whilst Glasgow Coma Score was the least frequently assessed vital sign per hour (median=0.5). Clinical deterioration (one or more vital signs fulfilling hospital medical emergency team activation criteria during emergency department care) occurred in 14.5% of patients. Of the 5466 vital sign measures, 19.6% were abnormal, 1.9% indicated clinical deterioration. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical deterioration occurred in one in seven patients, and one in five vital signs documented were outside of accepted normal ranges. Thus, emergency department physiological status has implications for patient safety and nursing practice, in particular clinical handover for patients requiring hospital admission.

History

Journal

Australasian emergency nursing journal

Volume

19

Pagination

217-222

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

1574-6267

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article, C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, College of Emergency Nursing Australasia

Issue

4

Publisher

Elsevier