Transport of patients from the intensive care unit (ICU) to another area of the hospital can pose serious risks if the patient has not been assessed prior to transport. The Department of Critical Care Medicine, Calgary Health Region, experienced two adverse events during transport. A subgroup of the Department's Patient Safety and Adverse Events team developed an ICU patient transport decision scorecard. This tool was tested through Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles and further revised using human factors principles. Staff, especially novice nurses, found the tool extremely useful in determining patient preparedness for transport.
The transport of the ICU patient is a complicated process and can lead to patient harm. In the Department of Critical Care Medicine, Calgary Health Region, staff underestimated the risks of intrahospital transport, which led to the two adverse events mentioned above. This article published in Healthcare Quarterly has describes the development of an ICU patient transport decision scorecard to support the safe transport of ICU patients for diagnostic testing.
The scorecard is a visual assessment tool. Each item on it is a decision point and a simple reminder to ensure that appropriate resources are available prior to transport. Outcome measures have been added to begin to measure the effectiveness of the tool.
Several lessons were learned from the development of this tool: the need to form a subgroup with team members from all sites and disciplines to ensure early buy-in; the involvement of a human factors expert to make the tool easier to use; and the need to continuously retest the tool using PDSA cycles.