Despite having highly qualified and dedicated staff and high tech equipment, early recognition and appropriate timely response to patients that are clinically deteriorating may not always occur and could result in the missed opportunity to prevent serious morbidity or death in the acute health care setting. The South Australian Department for Health and Ageing, Safety and Quality Unit lead the coordination of a state-wide standardised approach to SA Health services systems and tools to improve early recognition and appropriate, timely and effective response to clinical deterioration.
Policies, guidelines and tools on recognising and responding to clinical deterioration
The SA Health Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration Policy Directive (PDF 283KB) describes the roles and responsibilities of employees of health service organisations in improving and supporting the recognition and response to clinical deterioration in acute health care. The policy aims to promote effective recognition, response and management of the deteriorating patient in SA Health services, that takes into account the patient preferences and advance care directives.
The SA Health Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration Guideline (PDF 271KB) describes processes to recognise and respond to clinically deteriorating patients will be evidence-based, individualised to patient preference and consistent across SA Health services. Effective recognition and response to clinical deterioration is an essential component of safe, high quality health care.
The SA Health Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration Accreditation Resource (PDF 964KB) has been developed to support Health Services and provides examples of South Australian tools and resources that can be used to demonstrate an action and standard has been met.
National standards and accreditation on recognising and responding to clinical deterioration
The National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard 9 – Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration describes systems for recognising and responding to clinical deterioration, and ensures a patient’s deterioration is recognised promptly, and appropriate action is taken. This includes:
- Establishing recognition and response systems
Organisation-wide systems consistent with the National Consensus Statement are used to support and promote recognition of, and respond to, patients whose condition deteriorates.
- Recognising clinical deterioration and escalating care
Patients whose condition is deteriorating are recognised and appropriate action is taken to escalate care.
- Responding to clinical deterioration
Appropriate and timely care is provided to patients whose condition is deteriorating.
- Communicating with patients and carers
Patients, families and carers are informed of recognition and response systems and can contribute to the processes of escalating care.
To learn more about the ten Nation Standards see our National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards page.
Sample observation charts
See the following Rapid Detection and Response (RDR) to Clinical Deterioration Observation sample charts used at SA Health facilities.
Adult observation charts
- Adults (MR59A)
- Emergency Department (MR59A-ED)
- Maternal 20 weeks gestation to 6 weeks postpartum (FROM MR59G)
Paediatric observation charts
- under 3 months (MR59B)
- 3 months to 1 year (MR59C)
- 1 to 4 years (MR59D)
- 5 to 11 years (MR59E)
- 12 years and older (MR59F)
Safety and Quality
(08) 8226 6539