“Failure to rescue” (FTR) is the failure to prevent a death resulting from a complication of medical care or from a complication of underlying illness or surgery. There is a growing body of evidence that identifies causes and interventions that may improve institutional FTR rates.
Why do patients “fail to rescue” after complications in hospital? What clinically relevant interventions have been shown to improve organisational fail to rescue rates? Can successful rescue methods be classified into a simple strategy?
Burke et al. carried out a systematic review. All studies that explored an intervention to improve failure to rescue in the adult population were considered. They found that complications occur consistently within healthcare organisations and organisations vary in their ability to manage such events. Failure to rescue is a measure of institutional competence in this context.
The authors propose “The 3 Rs of Failure to Rescue” of recognise, relay and react, and hope that this serves as a valuable framework for understanding the phases where failure of patient salvage may occur. Future efforts at mitigating the differences in outcome from complication management between units may benefit from incorporating this proposed framework into institutional quality improvement.