Vital signs and other observations used to detect deterioration in pregnant women: an analysis of vital sign charts in consultant-led UK maternity units.

Smith, G. B., Isaacs, R., Andrews, L., Wee, M., Van Teijlingen, E., Bick, D.E., Hundley, V. and Modified Obstetric Early Warning Systems (MObs) Research Group, , 2017. Vital signs and other observations used to detect deterioration in pregnant women: an analysis of vital sign charts in consultant-led UK maternity units. International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia, 30 (May), pp. 44-51.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.ijoa.2017.03.002

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Obstetric early warning systems are recommended for monitoring hospitalised pregnant and postnatal women. We decided to compare: (i) vital sign values used to define physiological normality; (ii) symptoms and signs used to escalate care; (iii) type of chart used; and (iv) presence of explicit instructions for escalating care. METHODS: One hundred and twenty obstetric early warning charts and escalation protocols were obtained from consultant-led maternity units in the UK and Channel Islands. These data were extracted: values used to determine normality for each maternal vital sign; chart colour-coding; instructions following early warning system triggering; other criteria used as triggers. RESULTS: There was considerable variation in the charts, warning systems and escalation protocols. Of 120 charts, 89.2% used colour; 69.2% used colour-coded escalation systems. Forty-one (34.2%) systems required the calculation of weighted scores. Seventy-five discrete combinations of 'normal' vital sign ranges were found, the most common being: heart rate=50-99beats/min; respiratory rate=11-20breaths/min; blood pressure, systolic=100-149mmHg, diastolic ≤89mmHg; SpO2=95-100%; temperature=36.0-37.9°C; and Alert-Voice-Pain-Unresponsive assessment=Alert. Most charts (90.8%) provided instructions about who to contact following triggering, but only 41.7% gave instructions about subsequent observation frequency. CONCLUSION: The wide range of 'normal' vital sign values in different systems suggests a lack of equity in the processes for detecting deterioration and escalating care in hospitalised pregnant and postnatal women. Agreement regarding 'normal' vital sign ranges is urgently required and would assist the development of a standardised obstetric early warning system and chart.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0959-289X
Uncontrolled Keywords:Maternity ; Obstetric emergency team ; Patient safety ; Standards of care ; Trigger tools ; Women’s health
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:28818
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:18 Apr 2017 09:11
Last Modified:17 May 2017 15:39

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