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Rapid response teams for the critically ill 

Rapid response teams for the critically ill
Rapid response teams for the critically ill

Ken Hillman

and Jack Chen

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date: 05 July 2022

There is a high incidence of potentially preventable deaths and serious adverse events in acute hospitals. Most of these events occur on the general wards of the hospital. The concept of rapid response systems was developed as a way of identifying seriously-ill and at-risk patients in acute hospitals at an early stage in order to improve outcomes. The system has two major components—criteria to define the deteriorating patient linked to a rapid response. The criteria are based on a combination of abnormal vital signs and observations, and the response is based on matching the patient with staff with the appropriate skills. Implementing and evaluating hospital-wide systems present new challenges that are different to our approach to a new drug or procedure. As well as agreeing to the appropriate criteria and response, the system needs leadership and support across the whole hospital, including education programmes and, monitoring with appropriate quality assurance activities. Increasingly, the specialty of intensive care is designed around the needs of the seriously ill, rather than being geographically confined within the four walls of an intensive care unit. The concept of rapid response systems is part of that process.

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