A realistic evaluation of track and trigger systems and acute care training for early recognition and treatment of deteriorating ward-based patients: research protocol.

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    Aim The aim of the study is to evaluate factors that enable or constrain the implementation and service delivery of early warnings systems or acute care training in practice. Background To date there is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of acute care initiatives (early warning systems, acute care training, outreach) in reducing the number of adverse events (cardiac arrest, death, unanticipated Intensive Care admission) through increased recognition and management of deteriorating ward based patients in hospital [1-3]. The reasons posited are that previous research primarily focused on measuring patient outcomes following the implementation of an intervention or programme without considering the social factors (the organisation, the people, external influences) which may have affected the process of implementation and hence measured end-points. Further research which considers the social processes is required in order to understand why a programme works, or does not work, in particular circumstances [4]. Method The design is a multiple case study approach of four general wards in two acute hospitals where Early Warning Systems (EWS) and Acute Life-threatening Events Recognition and Treatment (ALERT) course have been implemented. Various methods are being used to collect data about individual capacities, interpersonal relationships and institutional balance and infrastructures in order to understand the intended and unintended process outcomes of implementing EWS and ALERT in practice. This information will be gathered from individual and focus group interviews with key participants (ALERT facilitators, nursing and medical ALERT instructors, ward managers, doctors, ward nurses and health care assistants from each hospital); non-participant observation of ward organisation and structure; audit of patients' EWS charts and audit of the medical notes of patients who deteriorated during the study period to ascertain whether ALERT principles were followed. Discussion & progress to date This study commenced in January 2007. Ethical approval has been granted and data collection is ongoing with interviews being conducted with key stakeholders. The findings from this study will provide evidence for policy-makers to make informed decisions regarding the direction for strategic and service planning of acute care services to improve the level of care provided to acutely ill patients in hospital. References 1. Esmonde L, McDonnell A, Ball C, Waskett C, Morgan R, Rashidain A et al. Investigating the effectiveness of Critical Care Outreach Services: A systematic review. Intensive Care Medicine 2006; 32: 1713-1721 2. McGaughey J, Alderdice F, Fowler R, Kapila A, Mayhew A, Moutray M. Outreach and Early Warning Systems for the prevention of Intensive Care admission and death of critically ill patients on general hospital wards. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 3. www.thecochranelibrary.com 3. Winters BD, Pham JC, Hunt EA, Guallar E, Berenholtz S, Pronovost PJ (2007) Rapid Response Systems: A systematic review. Critical Care Medicine 2007; 35 (5): 1238-43 4. Pawson R and Tilley N. Realistic Evaluation. London; Sage: 1997
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    Event6. 3rd EfCCNa Congress and 27th Aniarti Congress. ‘Influencing Critical Care Nursing in Europe’. - Florence , Italy
    Duration: 09 Oct 200811 Oct 2008

    Conference

    Conference6. 3rd EfCCNa Congress and 27th Aniarti Congress. ‘Influencing Critical Care Nursing in Europe’.
    CountryItaly
    CityFlorence
    Period09/10/200811/10/2008

      Research areas

    • early warning systems, patient deterioration, research protocol

    ID: 17105743