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Survey of early identification systems to identify inpatient children at risk of physiological deterioration
  1. H P Duncan
  1. Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK

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In the UK 70% of adult services have early warning systems and trigger systems to identify patients at risk of physiological deterioration. Methodological challenges, unvalidated criteria that are not universally applied and insufficient staff education have contributed to difficulties in proving benefit.1

The more rapid physiological decline experienced by children makes it remarkable that these services are not routinely available for children. As simply adapting adult systems for children is inappropriate because of different age-related physiological and developmental factors, there has been an attempt to develop tools specifically for use in the paediatric population.26 This survey was designed to identify the prevalence and nature of paediatric early identification systems in the UK to inform future research, policy and the development of appropriate services for children.

View this table:
Table 1 The 36 different parameters used for early identification


A survey was sent to the lead paediatricians, intensivists, anaesthetists and critical care outreach leads of NHS Trusts in the UK caring for children. Personnel were identified from databases held by the Royal College of Paediatrics and …

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  • Ethical approval was not required.

  • Funding: We are grateful to the Paediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) for funding for this survey. The author and contributors are members of the funding body PICS and contribute to the academic proceedings but do not benefit financially from the association or the proceeds of this study.

  • Competing interests: None.