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To assess whether a national standard for improving care of deteriorating patients affected ICU admissions following cardiac arrests from hospital wards.Retrospective study assessing changes from baseline (January 1, 2008, to June 30, 2010), rollout (July 1, 2010, to December 31, 2012), and after (January 1, 2013, to 31 December 31, 2014) national standard introduction. Conventional inferential statistics, interrupted time series analysis, and adjusted hierarchical multiple logistic regression analysis.More than 110 ICU-equipped Australian hospitals.Adult patients (≥ 18 yr old) admitted to participating ICUs.Introducing a national framework to improve care of deteriorating patients including color-coded observation charts, mandatory rapid response system, enhanced governance, and staff education for managing deteriorating patients.Cardiac arrest–related ICU admissions from the ward decreased from 5.6% (baseline) to 4.9% (rollout) and 4.1% (intervention period). Interrupted time series analysis revealed a decline in the rate of cardiac arrest–related ICU admissions in the rollout period, compared with the baseline period (p = 0.0009) with a subsequent decrease in the rate in the intervention period (p = 0.01). Cardiac arrest–related ICU admissions were less likely in the intervention period compared with the baseline period (odds ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.78–0.93; p = 0.001), as was in-hospital mortality from cardiac arrests (odds ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65–0.96; p = 0.02).Introducing a national standard to improve the care of deteriorating patients was associated with reduced cardiac arrest–related ICU admissions and subsequent in-hospital mortality of such patients.