PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to determine associations between initially recorded deviations in individual bedside vital parameters that contribute to total Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS) levels 2 or 3 and further clinical deterioration (MEWS level=4).Design/methodology/approachThis was a prospective study in which 27,504 vital parameter values, corresponding to a total MEWS level⩾2, belonging to 1,315 adult medical and surgical inpatient patients admitted to a 90-bed study setting at a university hospital, were subjected to binary logistic and COX regression analyses to determine associations between vital parameter values initially corresponding to total MEWS levels 2 or 3 and later deterioration to total MEWS level ⩾4, and to evaluate corresponding time intervals.FindingsRespiratory rate, heart rate and patient age were significantly (p=0.012, p<0.001 and p=0.028, respectively) associated with further deterioration from a total MEWS level 2, and the heart rate also (p=0.009) from a total MEWS level 3. Within 24 h from the initially recorded total MEWS levels 2 or 3, 8 and 17 percent of patients, respectively, deteriorated to a total MEWS level=4. Patients initially scoring MEWS 2 had a 27 percent 30-day mortality rate if they later scored MEWS level=4, and 8.7 percent if they did not.Practical implicationsIt is important to observe all patients closely, but especially elderly patients, if total MEWS levels 2 or 3 are tachypnoea and/or tachycardia related.Originality/valueFindings might contribute to patient safety by facilitating appropriate clinical and organizational decisions on adequate time spans for early warning scoring in general ward patients.
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 11, 2019
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