Prediction of in-hospital mortality and length of stay using an early warning scoring system: clinical audit

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This aim of this study was to assess the impact of the introduction of a standardised early warning scoring system (SEWS) on physiological observations and patient outcomes in unselected acute admissions at point of entry to care. A sequential clinical audit was performed on 848 patients admitted to a combined medical and surgical assessment unit during two separate 11-day periods. Physiological parameters (respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and conscious level), in-hospital mortality, length of stay, transfer to critical care and staff satisfaction were documented. Documentation of these physiological parameters improved (P<0.001–0.005) with the exception of oxygen saturation (P=0.069). The admission early warning score correlated both with in-hospital mortality (P<0.001) and length of stay (P=0.001). Following the introduction of the scoring system, inpatient mortality decreased (P=0.046). Staff responding to a questionnaire indicated that the scoring system increased awareness of illness severity (80%) and prompted earlier interventions (60%). A standardised early warning scoring system improves documentation of physiological parameters, correlates with in-hospital mortality, and helps predict length of stay.

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