Recognising patients whose physiological condition is acutely deteriorating and responding to their needs in an appropriate and timely way is essential for safe and high-quality care.
Recognition and response systems must apply to all patients, in all patient care areas, at all times.
Overall accountability for a patient’s care rests with the attending medical officer or team, along with treating nurses and allied health. Recognition and response systems should therefore promote effective action by clinicians working in the wards, and the attending medical officer or team. This includes calling for emergency assistance when required.
Effectively recognising and responding to acute physiological deterioration requires appropriate communication of diagnosis and overall goals of care. This involves documentation within the health care record, as well as communicating information at clinical handover and during routine clinical rounds.
Effectively recognising and responding to acute physiological deterioration requires development and communication of plans for monitoring vital sign observations and ongoing management of the patient.
Recognition of, and response to, acute physiological deterioration requires access to appropriately qualified, skilled and experienced staff.
Recognition and response systems should encourage a positive, supportive response to escalation of care, irrespective of circumstances or outcome. No one should be criticised for escalating the care of a deteriorating patient.
Care should align with the needs and expressed preferences of the patient, including previously documented advanced care plans and goals of care.
If a patient lacks capacity to participate in decision making about their care then, when possible, the views of a substitute decision maker should be sought.
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