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Vital signs: the forgotten skill?

23 July 2020
2 min read
Volume 29 · Issue 14

As we start to recover from the first wave of COVID-19, anticipate a second wave and prepare for the annual flu season while also looking at how to rebuild routine healthcare, we need to reflect on the lessons learnt. Central to this is that core nursing skills remain essential in treating patients and yet, all too often, we tend to forget these skills.

In 1999–2000, I was part of a research project that aimed to see if cardiac arrests were preventable and avoidable (Hodgetts et al, 2002). This research was born out of the frustration of seeing many post-cardiac arrest review audits, which all too often demonstrated a clear and gradual patient deterioration leading up to a fatal cardiac arrest. Our research identified that upwards of 60% of in-hospital ward-based cardiac arrests were at least potentially avoidable and our findings have been replicated in many other studies. Central to cardiac arrest prevention is early decision-making around ceilings of care and the use of a patient scoring system. To this end, patient scoring systems are now strongly recommended by the international resuscitation community as they are essential pillars of cardiac arrest prevention (Soar et al, 2015).

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