Room Service Resus
Summary by: Sarah Webb
Rapid response systems (RRSs) have become a routine part of the way patients are managed in general wards of acute care hospitals. They have been adopted by national health and safety organisations in North America, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia and are increasingly being used in other parts of the world.
Studies have almost universally shown significant reductions in outcome indicators such as mortality (up to one third) and cardiac arrest rates (up to 50%). However the validity of these outcomes is questionable as most of these studies are single-centre, before-and-after studies conducted by one or two clinical champions in Rapid Response.
This presentation reveals that the implementation of an Intensivist led Rapid Response Team in an Australian quaternary hospital did not demonstrate such dramatic results. In fact, after one year of service the standardised mortality ratio and the in-hospital cardiac arrest rate remained similar.
The presentation explores some of the operational impacts of a RRS including the replacement of critical thinking with reliance on protocols and the progressive super-specialisation of medical teams. Despite these impacts and relatively static patient outcome data, the service has rapidly become an integral part of the hospital.
Barriers between Intensive Care and ward staff have broken down and quality outcome results have consistently shown ward nurses and doctors feel better prepared, educated and supported in managing clinical deterioration. These surprising results raise the question; should we place more value in quality outcomes?