Role of effective documentation in emergency departments

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Joyce Forge offers findings from a literature review and staff opinion survey about whether the use of documentation safeguards children adequately

Lord Laming's report into the death of Victoria Climbié highlights shortcomings in the safeguarding of children, in part due to poor record keeping and information sharing (House of Commons Health Committee 2003). This article presents findings from a survey of emergency department staff opinions about whether keeping records on children aged between birth and 16 years can safeguard them from harm. Staff members said that, while written records generally aid communication, the records they use did not focus satisfactorily on the children concerned and did not take into account some risks factors. The study led to a redesign of the record-keeping system.

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