Teaching paediatric ward teams to recognise and manage the deteriorating child

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Issues around the deterioration of hospitalised children are known: the failure to observe and monitor patients adequately, a failure to recognise the deteriorating patient, a failure to communicative effectively within the healthcare team and a failure to respond appropriately or in a timely manner (Pearson, 2008; NPSA, 2009). In response to this, a new 1-day course called RESPOND (Recognising Signs of Paediatric hOspital iNpatients Deterioration) was developed.


To describe the development of the RESPOND course and present a preliminary evaluation of the first four courses.


A written postcourse survey was completed by participants (junior doctors, medical students, nurses and health care assistants) immediately after the course and an electronic survey completed three months later in a large children's hospital in the North West of England. Data were analysed descriptively and by simple thematic analysis of free text responses.


Sixty-five participants undertook the RESPOND course over four separate days. Overwhelmingly participants found the course positive, with the most frequently cited benefit being improved multidisciplinary communication. Despite a poor response to the second survey, 18% (12 of 65) of respondents remained positive about the impact of the course.

Conclusions and relevance to practice:

This preliminary evaluation combined with a reduction in hospital cardiac arrest rates suggest that the multiprofessional RESPOND course (in conjunction with an early warning tool and response system) is successful as part of a targeted strategy to promote patient safety within a children's hospital.

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