The effect of implementing a modified early warning scoring (MEWS) system on the adequacy of vital sign documentation

Hammond, Naomi E., Spooner, Amy J., Barnett, Adrian G., Corley, Amanda, Brown, Peter, & Fraser, John F. (2012) The effect of implementing a modified early warning scoring (MEWS) system on the adequacy of vital sign documentation. Australian Critical Care.

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Introduction and objectives

Early recognition of deteriorating patients results in better patient outcomes. Modified early warning scores (MEWS) attempt to identify deteriorating patients early so timely interventions can occur thus reducing serious adverse events.

We compared frequencies of vital sign recording 24 h post-ICU discharge and 24 h preceding unplanned ICU admission before and after a new observation chart using MEWS and an associated educational programme was implemented into an Australian Tertiary referral hospital in Brisbane. Design

Prospective before-and-after intervention study, using a convenience sample of ICU patients who have been discharged to the hospital wards, and in patients with an unplanned ICU admission, during November 2009 (before implementation; n = 69) and February 2010 (after implementation; n = 70). Main outcome measures

Any change in a full set or individual vital sign frequency before-and-after the new MEWS observation chart and associated education programme was implemented. A full set of vital signs included Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), temperature (T°), oxygen saturation (SaO2) respiratory rate (RR) and urine output (UO). Results

After the MEWS observation chart implementation, we identified a statistically significant increase (210%) in overall frequency of full vital sign set documentation during the first 24 h post-ICU discharge (95% CI 148, 288%, p value <0.001). Frequency of all individual vital sign recordings increased after the MEWS observation chart was implemented. In particular, T° recordings increased by 26% (95% CI 8, 46%, p value = 0.003).

An increased frequency of full vital sign set recordings for unplanned ICU admissions were found (44%, 95% CI 2, 102%, p value = 0.035). The only statistically significant improvement in individual vital sign recordings was urine output, demonstrating a 27% increase (95% CI 3, 57%, p value = 0.029). Conclusions

The implementation of a new MEWS observation chart plus a supporting educational programme was associated with statistically significant increases in frequency of combined and individual vital sign set recordings during the first 24 h post-ICU discharge. There were no significant changes to frequency of individual vital sign recordings in unplanned admissions to ICU after the MEWS observation chart was implemented, except for urine output. Overall increases in the frequency of full vital sign sets were seen.

Impact and interest:

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12 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 53382
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: In Press, Corrected Proof
Keywords: Intensive care, Modified early warning scores (MEWS); Intensive care; Vital signs; Deteriorating patients; Medical emergency teams (MET)
DOI: 10.1016/j.aucc.2012.05.001
ISSN: 1036-7314
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Intensive Care (110310)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 29 Aug 2012 22:42
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2012 22:07

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