Differences in identification of patients' deterioration may hamper the success of clinical escalation protocols

Crisis Checklist Collaborative , Ashley J.R. de Bie (Corresponding author), Rick Bezemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Timely and consistent recognition of a 'clinical crisis', a life threatening condition that demands immediate intervention, is essential to reduce 'failure to rescue' rates in general wards. AIM: To determine how different clinical caregivers define a 'clinical crisis' and how they respond to it. DESIGN: An international survey. METHODS: Clinicians working on general wards, intensive care units or emergency departments in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Denmark were asked to review ten scenarios based on common real-life cases. Then they were asked to grade the urgency and severity of the scenario, their degree of concern, their estimate for the risk for death and indicate their preferred action for escalation. The primary outcome was the scenarios with a National Early Warning Score (NEWS) ≥7 considered to be a 'clinical crisis'. Secondary outcomes included how often a rapid response system (RRS) was activated, and if this was influenced by the participant's professional role or experience. The data from all participants in all three countries was pooled for analysis. RESULTS: A total of 150 clinicians participated in the survey. The highest percentage of clinicians that considered one of the three scenarios with a NEWS ≥7 as a 'clinical crisis' was 52%, while a RRS was activated by <50% of participants. Professional roles and job experience only had a minor influence on the recognition of a 'clinical crisis' and how it should be responded to. CONCLUSION: This international survey indicates that clinicians differ on what they consider to be a 'clinical crisis' and on how it should be managed. Even in cases with a markedly abnormal physiology (i.e. NEWS ≥7) many clinicians do not consider immediate activation of a RRS is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-504
Number of pages8
JournalQJM : Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


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