AN Armadale Hospital initiative that has reduced the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cardiac arrests by 85 per cent has taken out a WA Health Excellence Award.
The ICU team’s ‘rapid response to clinical deterioration’ initiative was developed in 2011 and focuses on improving the systems that dictate how staff recognise and respond to patients’ deteriorating condition.
Armadale Hospital ICU department head David Blythe said one of the biggest goals was to equip staff with the expertise needed to be able to call for a Medical Emergency Team (MET) before the patient deteriorated into a cardiac arrest.
“One of the aims was to change the thinking that the MET team was only to be called when the patient had gone into cardiac arrest,” he said.
“The staff on the ward now feel safer knowing that the ICU team is there as a backup, should they require it.
“The drop in cardiac arrests is significant as the outcomes from cardiac arrest are not as good as one might think from watching medical programmes on TV.
“Most patients who have a cardiac or respiratory arrest die in hospital and it is therefore important to intervene before somebody’s heart or breathing actually stops.”
While currently only run at Armadale Hospital, the initiative has been so successful there are plans to roll it out to Royal Perth Hospital.