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Paediatric early warning system - Utilisation and Mortality Avoidance.

In 2011, a research study compared the child health outcomes and death rate in the UK with other European countries. It was worrying that UK measures of child health were amongst the worst in Europe. It is not clear why this is and further work needs to be done to understand this better. In hospital, staff try to quickly identify the children who are seriously ill or getting sicker, so that they receive rapid treatment to improve their condition. Despite training, sometimes children become sicker in hospital without staff noticing or they underestimate the severity of illness, do not treat deterioration quickly enough, or get extra help. In these cases, the very sick child might require emergency transfer to intensive care, stop breathing, or die unexpectedly.

This study aims to develop an understanding of core components and mechanisms necessary in monitoring of children in hospital, in order to identify deterioration quickly so there is an urgent response to save the patient from harm and reduce premature death in hospitalised children across the United Kingdom.

This research study will be conducted in four hospitals and aims to examine what key components should be included in a track and trigger tool and early warning system, to help identify the children who are sicker and prevent them becoming more unwell, having a serious complication or dying.

This will be the largest, most comprehensive study of track and trigger tools and Paediatric Early Warning System, with the aim to improve paediatric patient safety and reduce mortality. Our findings inform recommendations about safety processes that should be established in every hospital treating paediatric in-patients across the NHS.

Related publication

Wolfe I, Cass H, Thompson MJ et al (2011). Improving child health services in the UK: insights from Europe and their implications for the NHS reforms. BMJ: 342, d1277.

Key facts

Start date 1 Nov 2014
End date 1 Oct 2018
Grant value £1,984,668
  • Ongoing

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