A dedicated retrieval and transfer service : the QUARTS project

Andrews, Sue, Catlin, Sue, Lamb, Nikki, & Christensen, Martin (2008) A dedicated retrieval and transfer service : the QUARTS project. Nursing in Critical Care, 13(3), pp. 162-168.

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The transfer and/or retrieval of a critically patient is inherently dangerous not only for the patient but for staff as well. The quality and experience of unplanned transfers can influence patient mortality and morbidity. However, international evidence suggests that dedicated transfer/retrieval teams can improve mortality and morbidity outcomes.


The initial aim of this paper is to describe an in-house competency-based training programme, which encompasses the STaR approach to develop members of our existing nursing team to be part of the dedicated transfer/retrieval service. The paper also presents audit data findings which examined the source of referrals, number of patients actually transferred and clinical status of those being transferred.


Audit data illustrate that the most frequent source of referrals comes from Accident and Emergency and the Surgical Directorate with the most common presenting condition being cardio-respiratory failure or arrest. Audit data reveal that the number of patients actually transferred or retrieved is relatively small (33%) compared with the overall number of requests for assistance. However, 36% of those patients transferred had a level 2 or level 3 acuity status that necessitated the admission to a critical care area.


A number of studies have concluded that the ill-experienced and ill-equipped transfer team can place patients’ at serious risk of harm. Whether planned or unplanned, dedicated critical care transfer/retrieval teams have been shown to reduce patient mortality and morbidity.

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ID Code: 68979
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Patient retrieval, Patient transfer, STaR, Transport
DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-5153.2008.00272.x
ISSN: 1478-5153
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care) (111003)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 The Authors
Deposited On: 21 Mar 2014 01:10
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2014 01:10

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