How to assess deteriorating patients
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How to assess deteriorating patients

Mike Barker Lecturer in adult nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, England
Melanie Rushton Lecturer in adult nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, England
Joyce Smith Lecturer in adult nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, England

Rationale and key points

This article aims to help practitioners to undertake the assessment of deteriorating patients using a standardised ABCDE (airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure) approach that allows the practitioner to assess the patient in a structured and timely manner, and to identify the specific needs of the patient using the look, listen and feel method.

Systematic assessment is central to recognising a deteriorating patient and to taking timely and appropriate action to minimise the incidence of further deterioration.

The ABCDE approach can be used to identify patients at risk of becoming acutely unwell and to summon appropriate assistance at an early stage.

The practitioner should review obtained physiological data to develop an effective management plan and indicate future investigations.

Reflective activity

Clinical skills articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

What you have gained from reading this article.

How this knowledge will influence your practice.

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at: rcni.com/portfolio.

Nursing Standard. 30, 11,34-36. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.11.34.s44

Correspondence

M.Barker@salford.ac.uk

Peer review

All submissions are subject to external double-blind peer-review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 15 October 2014

Accepted: 04 December 2014