Introduction Intravenous (IV) maintenance fluids are often prescribed post-surgery when enteral routes are contraindicated. Serious consequences have been documented when poor fluid management has occurred, as highlighted in the National Patient Safety Alert (NPSA) 22; reducing the risk of hyponatraemia; when administering IV fluids to children.1 In response to this, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published their guidance in December 2015 regarding IV fluids in children.2 Based on NICE recommendations, a pan hospital fluid guidance was produced. Within the NICE and hospital’s own guideline it states that there should be a daily fluid management plan documented. It has been well recognised that this daily fluid management plan was not routinely been completed; hence showing non-adherence to our hospital policy and NICE recommendations.
Aims Primary aim was to improve the documentation of the daily fluid management plan; aimed at the medical staff and the secondary aim was to improve the monitoring requirements of IV fluids and documentation of these; largely aimed at the nursing staff.
Methods A simple sticker was designed and attached to continuous sheets for medical notes which had a checklist of monitoring requirements and a section for fluid balance. Additionally, 2 posters were produced; one aimed at medical staff for documenting a fluid management plan and one aimed at the nursing staff with the monitoring requirements. These posters were displayed on the paediatric surgical ward.
Results A total of 22 patients who were prescribed IV fluids were identified for a baseline measurement, an equal number of patients were compared after the intervention. Neonates and children receiving total parenteral nutrition were excluded from the data collection. There were 41% of daily fluid management plans completed pre intervention and post intervention there were 56% completed; showing a 15% increase in completion. As regards the monitoring indications; there were increases for nursing fluid balance completed from 19% to 46%, blood glucose taken and recorded from 64% to 83% and the daily weight documented from 10% to 49%.
Conclusions This short QI project shows that implementation of an intervention did improve outcomes across all indications investigated. The results are not as dramatic as first hoped, but this is largely due to the short time scale of 4 weeks to introduce our change and it coincided with the change-over month of junior medical staff. With further education and champions within the medical and nursing teams; further improvement is very much possible, with the main aim in reducing risk and improving patient safety.
National Patient Safety Alert: Reducing the risk of hyponatraemia when administering intravenous infusions to neonates 2007. Available at https://www.sps.nhs.uk/articles/npsa-alert-reducing-the-risk-of-hyponatraemia-when-administering-intraveneous-infusions-to-neonates/ [Accessed 12th June 2019]
NICE guidance: Intravenous fluid therapy in children and young people in hospital. Available at https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng29 [Accessed 12th June 2019]
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