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Safety

Implementation of an Early Warning Scoring System to Identify Patients With Cancer at Risk for Deterioration

MiKaela Olsen
Kathy Mooney
Ellen Evans
CJON 2016, 20(4), 374-376 DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.374-376

Early warning scoring systems are tools for nurses to help monitor their patients and improve how quickly a patient experiencing a sudden decline receives clinical care. Nurse leaders and frontline staff at a major academic medical center implemented a new early warning system that gives clear guidelines to nurses, nursing assistants, and other clinicians about vital-sign parameters and changes in patients’ mental status.

At a Glance

  • The early warning scoring system has been implemented on two inpatient units and in an outpatient infusion clinic.
  • Nurses and patient care technicians carry color-coded cards that remind them who to notify and how frequently to reassess after a patient is found to have abnormal vital signs.
  • Nurses and other staff members reported that they perceive improved interprofessional communication and greater confidence in their ability to recognize subtle signs that a patient may be at risk for rapid deterioration.

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