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Recognizing and responding to clinical deterioration in adult patients in isolation precautions for infection control: a retrospective cohort study

Version 2 2024-06-05, 01:24
Version 1 2022-03-28, 09:44
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-05, 01:24 authored by D Berry, Maryann StreetMaryann Street, K Hall, Stephanie SprogisStephanie Sprogis, Julie ConsidineJulie Considine
Abstract Background Patient isolation is widely used as a strategy for prevention and control of infection but may have unintended consequences for patients. Early recognition and response to acute deterioration is an essential component of safe, quality patient care and has not been explored for patients in isolation. Objective The primary aims of this study were to (i) describe the timing, frequency and nature of clinical deterioration during hospital admission for patients with isolation precautions for infection control and (ii) compare the characteristics of patients who did and did not deteriorate during their initial period of isolation precautions for infection control. Methods This retrospective cohort study was conducted across three sites of a large Australian health service. The study sample were adult patients (≥18 years) admitted into isolation precautions within 24 h of admission from 1 July 2019 to 31 December 2019. Results There were 634 patients who fulfilled the study inclusion criteria. One in eight patients experienced at least one episode of clinical deterioration during their time in isolation with most episodes of deterioration occurring within the first 2 days of admission. Timely Medical Emergency Team calls occurred in almost half the episodes of deterioration; however, the same proportion (47.2%) of deterioration episodes resulted in no Medical Emergency Team activation (afferent limb failure). In the 24 h preceding each episode of clinical deterioration (n = 180), 81.6% (n = 147) of episodes were preceded by vital signs fulfilling pre-Medical Emergency Team criteria. Patients who deteriorated during isolation for infection control were older (median age 74.0 vs 71.0 years, P = 0.042); more likely to live in a residential care facility (21.0% vs 7.2%, P = 0.006); had a longer initial period of isolation (4.0 vs 2.9 days, P = < 000.1) and hospital length-of-stay (median 4.9 vs 3.2 days, P = < 0.001) and were more likely to die in hospital (12.3% vs 4.3%, P < 0.001). Conclusion Patients in isolation precautions experienced high Medical Emergency Team afferent limb failure and most fulfilled pre-Medical Emergency Team criteria in the 24 h preceding episodes of deterioration. Timely recognition and response to clinical deterioration continue to be essential in providing safe, quality patient care regardless of the hospital-care environment.



International journal for quality in health care : journal of the International Society for Quality in Health Care



Article number

ARTN mzac020




Oxford, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal




Oxford University Press