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Found 105 results
  1. Content Article
    Decisions to admit older, frail patients to critical care must pay particular attention to quality of life and the potential burden of care on patients. This burden may extend beyond surviving a critical illness. These decisions are not easy and require careful thought, clinical judgment, and communication write Daniele Bryden and colleagues in this BMJ opinion piece. 
  2. Content Article
    Studies from medical and surgical intensive care units (ICU) suggest that long-term outcomes are poor for patients who have spent significant time in an ICU. This study in the American Journal of Surgery aimed to identify determinants of post-intensive care physical and mental health outcomes 6–12 months after injury. The authors found that: Delirium during an intensive care unit (ICU) stay is linked with long-term physical impairment in injury survivors who spent three or more days in the ICU. The use of ventilators in the ICU is another factor associated with long-term physical impairment and mental health symptoms in these patients. Delirium and ventilator use are potentially modifiable, suggesting opportunities for improving patient outcomes. They suggest that that this knowledge can inform the development of interventions that specifically target delirium and ventilator use to mitigate long-term impairments.
  3. Content Article
    Diagnostic errors contribute to patient harm, though few data exist to describe their prevalence or underlying causes among medical inpatients. The aim of this study published by Jama Internal Medicine was to determine the prevalence, underlying cause, and harms of diagnostic errors among hospitalised adults transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU) or who died. The results showed that diagnostic errors were common and associated with patient harm. Problems with choosing and interpreting tests and the processes involved with clinician assessment are high-priority areas for improvement efforts.
  4. Content Article
    The Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet) has published the National Paediatric Critical Care Audit State Nation Report 2023. Based on a data collection period from January 2020 to December 2022, it describes paediatric critical care activity which occurred within Level 3 paediatric intensive care units and Specialist Paediatric Critical Care Transport Services in the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland (ROI). This report contains key information on referral, transport and admission events collected by the National Paediatric Critical Care Audit to monitor the delivery and quality of care in relation to agreed standards and evaluate clinical outcomes to inform national policy in paediatric critical care. It reports on the following five key metrics relevant to Paediatric Intensive Care services: case ascertainment including timeliness of data submission retrieval mobilisation times emergency readmissions within 48 hours of discharge unplanned extubation in PICU mortality in PICU.
  5. Content Article
    Patient safety incidents, including medical errors and adverse events, frequently occur in intensive care units, leading to a significant psychological burden on healthcare professionals. This burden results in second victim syndrome, which impacts the psychological and psychosomatic wellbeing of these staff members. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to examine the occurrence of second victim syndrome among intensive care unit healthcare workers, including the types, prevalence, risk factors and recovery time associated with the condition.
  6. Content Article
    Between 2009 and 2010, 48 year-old David Richards was admitted to intensive care during the ‘swine flu pandemic’. He spent six weeks in an intensive care unit (ICU), first on mechanical ventilation and later receiving extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment. He recovered and became a survivor of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). During his 50 days in intensive care, David's former partner Rose kept an ‘ICU diary’. Rose recorded clinical updates as well as conversations with relatives and staff who were by David's bedside. In this article, David describes how important this diary has been to him understanding and processing his experience. It forms a record not just of procedures, treatments and clinical signs but of how he reacted, how he appeared to feel and how he tried to communicate during a time that were permeated by delirium.
  7. Content Article
    In anticipation of an increase in patients requiring a temporary tracheostomy due to the huge surge in patients placed on ICU ventilation at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS England National Patient Safety Team launched a National Patient Safety Improvement programme to rapidly support the NHS to provide safe tracheostomy care.
  8. Content Article
    A new issue brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) examines the unique challenges of studying and improving diagnostic safety for children in respect to their overall health, access to care and unique aspects of diagnostic testing limitations for multiple paediatric conditions. The issue brief features approaches to address these challenges cross the care-delivery spectrum, including in primary care offices, emergency departments, inpatient wards and intensive care units. It also provides recommendations for building capacity to advance paediatric diagnostic safety. 
  9. Content Article
    The extent to which postintensive care unit (ICU) clinics may improve patient safety for those discharged after receiving intensive care remains unclear. This observational cohort study from Karlick et al., conducted at an academic, tertiary care medical centre, used qualitative survey data analysed via conventional content analysis to describe patient safety threats encountered in the post-ICU clinic. For 83 included patients, safety threats were identified for 60 patients resulting in 96 separate safety threats. These were categorised into 7 themes: medication errors (27%); inadequate medical follow-up (25%); inadequate patient support (16%); high-risk behaviours (5%); medical complications (5%); equipment/supplies failures (4%); and other (18%). Of the 96 safety threats, 41% were preventable, 27% ameliorable, and 32% were neither preventable nor ameliorable. Nearly 3 out of 4 patients within a post-ICU clinic had an identifiable safety threat. Medication errors and delayed medical follow-up were the most common safety threats identified; most were either preventable or ameliorable.
  10. Content Article
    In November 2021, 15-year old Alice Tapper nearly died due to a missed diagnoses of a perforated appendix. In this opinion piece, Alice shares her experience of being admitted to hospital with intense abdominal pain and other serious symptoms. In spite of her parents' requests for imaging to rule out appendicitis, doctors diagnosed that Alice had a viral infection and refused to prescribe antibiotics. Alice's condition severely deteriorated, leading her father to call the hospital and beg a gastroenterologist for further investigation. Fortunately, the hospital granted his request and after an x-ray and ultrasound, Alice was found to have a perforated appendix. She was going into hypovolemic shock, when severe blood or other fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. Thankfully, emergency surgery and antibiotics saved Alice's life, but she reflects on the fact that without her father's intervention, she would probably have died. She describes how her doctors failed to take the concerns she and her parents repeatedly expressed seriously, and that this lack of responsiveness could have been fatal. She highlights research that shows that appendicitis is missed in up to 15% of paediatric patients, and that missed diagnosis is most common in children under five, and is more common in girls than boys.
  11. Content Article
    In this blog, journalist David Hencke shares his views on the ruling of Judge Anne Martin in the case of NHS whistleblower Dr Chris Day. He argues that Judge Martin was determined to find in favour of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, glossing over the disclosure of the deliberate destruction of 90,000 emails and the use of false evidence by the Trust. She discredited the evidence of Dr Day’s witnesses, including the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt and two senior medical experts, on the basis that they were biased.
  12. Content Article
    Based on data from January 2019 to December 2021, this report by the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet) catalogues comprehensive information on referral, transport and admission events. This enables the monitoring of delivery and quality of care in relation to agreed standards, and the evaluation of clinical outcomes to inform national policy in paediatric critical care. It reports on five key metrics relevant to Paediatric Intensive Care services: case ascertainment including timeliness of data submission retrieval mobilisation times emergency readmissions within 48 hours of discharge unplanned extubation in PICU mortality in PICU
  13. News Article
    "I'm not sure I want to be a nurse anymore," she tells me. "I've seen more people die in the past two months than in the whole six years." Some 70% of health workers dealing with COVID-19 in Italy's hardest-hit areas are suffering from burnout, a recent study shows. "This is actually the hardest moment for doctors and nurses," says Serena Barello, the author of the study. Read story Source: BBC News, 26 May 2020
  14. News Article
    Dozens of intensive care units are still running well over their normal capacity – in some cases more than double – weeks after the peak of demand, figures seen by HSJ reveal. It contrasts with the picture painted at some government coronavirus press conferences that there is huge “spare capacity” in critical care and has been throughout the outbreak, with Downing Street charts putting England-wide occupancy at around 20% currently. The government’s assertions include the additional “surge” capacity which was hurriedly established at the start of the outbreak. But intensive care staff have been frustrated by this being labelled spare capacity, when the number of patients being treated is still well above normal levels. In addition, the ongoing reliance on keeping surge beds open – with ICUs still spilling over other spaces and calling on staff and equipment from other services – will limit hospitals’ ability to resume normal care, such as planned surgery. Steve Mathieu, a consultant in intensive care medicine in the south of England, said: “The majority of ICUs will currently be operating at over 100 per cent capacity and typically somewhere around 130-150 per cent, although there is significant regional variation". “There are uncertainties whether this will now represent the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future and there is a national need to plan for further potential surges in activity requiring more critical care demand." Read full story Source: HSJ, 21 May 2020
  15. News Article
    Intensive care units (ICU) will be advised how to improve their staffing-to-patient ratios shortly as the number of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 falls across the country. In expectation that the pandemic would put intense pressures on ICUs, staff ratios were relaxed. NHS England told trusts to base their staffing models on one critical care nurse for every six ICU patients, supported by two non-specialist nurses, and one senior ICU clinician for every 30 patients, supported by two middle-grade doctors. Before the pandemic, guidance from the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine recommended a ratio of one non-specialist nurse per patient. For senior clinicians the ratio was 1:10 New guidance, expected as early as next week, will encourage trusts to reduce the number of patients per ICU specialist nurses and senior clinicians on a localised basis as part of “transitional arrangements” aimed at moving staffing models back towards normal standards of care, HSJ has been told. The new guidance, drawn up by NHS England, the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and the British Association of Critical Care Nurses, will give trusts recommended staffing ratios based on the occupancy rates of their ICUs. It will tell trusts the existing ratios should be applied if their ICUs are running at four times their normal capacity. For ICUs running at double capacity, this ratio would be reduced to 1:2 for ICU nurses, and 1:15 for senior clinicians. Read full story Source: HSJ, 8 May 2020
  16. News Article
    Intensive care capacity in London must be doubled on a permanent basis following the coronavirus pandemic, according to the chief executive of the city’s temporary Nightingale hospital. Speaking to an online webinar hosted by the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor Charles Knight said London had around 800 critical care beds under normal operations but “there’s a clear plan to double intensive care unit capacity on a permanent basis”. He added: “We must have a system of healthcare in this country that means, if this ever happened again, that we wouldn’t have to do this, that we wouldn’t have to build an intensive care unit in a conference centre because we had enough capacity under usual operating so that we could cope with surge.” It would also mean the NHS would no longer be in a position “where lots of patients, as we all know, get cancelled every year for lack of an ITU bed,” he said. Read full story Source: HSJ, 28 April 2020
  17. News Article
    Intensive care units across the country are running out of essentials, including anaesthetics and drugs for anxiety and blood pressure, after a “tripling of demand” sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. Six senior NHS doctors working on the front line, and drugs industry sources, say that the health service is running out of at least eight crucial drugs. Hospitals in London, Birmingham and the northwest of England have been especially badly hit. Doctors said they were being forced to use alternatives to their “drug of choice”, affecting the quality of care being provided to COVID-19 patients. They also warned that some second-choice drugs might be triggering dangerous side effects such as minor heart attacks. Ron Daniels, an intensive care consultant in the West Midlands, said the shortages had become “acute” already. “We don’t know what we’re going to run out of next week,” he said. “Safety isn’t so much the issue — it’s quality. It may be that we’re subjecting people to longer periods of ventilation than we would normally because the drugs take longer to wear off.” Daniels added that some of the “second-line drugs” being used might be challenging to a patient’s heart: “We might be causing small heart attacks or subclinical heart attacks.” Ravi Mahajan, president of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said work was being carried out to “preserve” key drugs for those most in need. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 26 April 2020
  18. News Article
    A coronavirus patient’s terrifying hospital experience inspired an NHS doctor to create a flashcard system to improve communication with medical staff wearing face masks. Anaesthetist Rachael Grimaldi founded CARDMEDIC while on maternity leave after reading about a COVID-19 patient who was unable to understand healthcare workers through their personal protective equipment (PPE). Her system enables medical staff to ask critically ill or deaf coronavirus patients important questions and share vital information on digital flashcards displayed on a phone, tablet or computer. The idea went from concept to launch on 1 April in just 72 hours and is now being used by NHS trusts and hospitals in 50 countries across the world. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 25 April 2020 Read the 'Story behind CARDMEDIC', written by Rachael for the hub
  19. News Article
    A major London hospital has declared a “critical incident” due to a surge in patients with coronavirus, with one senior director in the capital calling the development “petrifying”. In a message to staff, Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow said it has no critical care capacity left and has contacted neighbouring hospitals about transferring patients who need critical care to other sites. The message, sent last night and seen by HSJ, said: “I am writing to let you know that we have this evening declared a ‘critical incident’ in relation to our critical care capacity at Northwick Park Hospital. This is due to an increasing number of patients with Covid-19. “This means that we currently do not have enough space for patients requiring critical care. “As part of our system resilience plans, we have contacted our partners in the North West London sector this evening to assist with the safe transfer of patients off of the Northwick Park site” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 20 March 2020
  20. News Article
    Matt Morgan, an intensive care doctor, describes in this Guardian article how his ICU are preparing for the coronavirus crisis. "ICUs are as prepared as they can be. Locally business as usual has made way for preparations for caring for high numbers of patients. We are finding every ventilator we may have and identifying every suitably qualified member of staff. We will work together to fill gaps as best we can. There’s a sense of anticipation about what the next eight, 10, 12 weeks are going to bring in terms of work. Anyone who works in healthcare is also a mum, dad, daughter, brother, son. We want to give everything to saving lives and work and care, but equally we’re thinking about the logistics of personal lives and elderly relatives too." Matt says his worst nightmare is having insufficient workforce and equipment to meet patient needs. Whether or not that will come to fruition is tough to predict. He also says that his ICU has a psychologist who’s doing a huge amount of thinking about putting in place wellbeing resources for staff who might be in moral distress after having to prioritise one patient over another. "If there are 500 patients and only 200 ventilators then that’s when we need national guidance from the government and other bodies. It can’t be up to individual doctors. The age of playing God is long behind us. The question is who should we be making decisions with: the public, government or within the profession?" Read full story Source: The Guardian, 13 March 2020
  21. News Article
    NHS hospitals have been told to expect a “several-fold” increase in demand for intensive care beds during a serious coronavirus outbreak. Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s incident director for the coronavirus outbreak, told a secret briefing of chief nurses from across the NHS that they needed to prepare now for the unprecedented demand which could overwhelm existing critical care services. Sources who were in the briefing told The Independent Prof Willett warned the demand was likely to be not just double but “several fold” the existing 4,000 intensive care beds in the NHS. Prof Willett said the NHS will also be holding large-scale simulations next week for an expected coronavirus surge in an effort to “stress test the system” ahead of rising cases of infection. If the predictions are right the NHS will likely be forced to cancel large numbers of operations and re-deploy nurses and doctors. Read full story Source: The Independent, 12 March 2020
  22. News Article
    Critically ill children are being rushed from one part of England to another because NHS hospitals are running short of intensive care beds in which to treat them, the Guardian has revealed. An increase in severe breathing problems in children driven by winter viruses and infections, including flu, means some are having to be transferred sometimes many miles from their home area because there are not enough paediatric intensive care (PICU) beds locally. Specialist doctors who staff the units say the situation is “dangerous and rotten for the families” involved and that staff are firefighting to handle the number of children needing sometimes life-saving care, many of whom are on a ventilator to help them breathe. In the past few weeks, young patients have been sent from the Midlands to Sheffield, from London to Cambridge, and from one side of the Pennines to the other in order to get them a place in a PICU. One doctor at a PICU in the Midlands said: “PICU beds are always in high demand. But since winter hit this year, around six weeks ago, the situation feels like we are simply firefighting. Many days I come on shift to find there are no beds in [our] region and the patients referred to us end up in Southampton, Sheffield, Oxford and other centres far away." “The PICU network is overstretched. There aren’t enough beds, nurses or skilled doctors.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 December 2019
  23. Content Article
    This article in the journal Patient Safety describes a state-wide, population-based study into tracheostomy- and laryngectomy-related airway safety events. The Pennsylvania-based study aimed to assess the relationship of these events with associated factors, interventions and outcomes, to identify potential areas for improvement. The authors queried the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) to find tracheostomy- and laryngectomy-related airway safety event reports involving adults age 18 years and older that occurred between 1 January 2018, and 31 December 2020.
  24. Content Article
    The need to evacuate an intensive care unit (ICU) or operating theatre complex during a fire or other emergency is a rare event but one potentially fraught with difficulty: not only is there a risk that patients may come to significant harm but also that staff may be injured and unable to work. The Intensive Care Society and the Association of Anaesthetists have published new 2021 guidelines regarding fire safety and emergency evacuation of ICUs and operating theatres. These guidelines have been drawn up by a multi-professional group including frontline clinicians, healthcare fire experts, human factors experts, clinical psychologists and representatives from the National Fire Chiefs Council, Health and Safety Executive (HSE), NHS Improvement, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), and representatives from relevant industries.
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