Cardiac Arrest - Report claims inadequate care in hospitals
The recent report from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD)‘A Time to Intervene’ takes a critical look at areas where the care of patients might have been improved following in-hospital cardiac arrest, and factors which may have affected the decision to initiate a resuscitation attempt.
The report shows the care of patients who had an in-hospital cardiac arrest was less than good in seven out of 10 cases, but the most worrying finding is that patients are dying unnecessarily as a result of inadequate care in hospital.
Deficiencies were noted in the admission process; consultant involvement;decision making about CPR status; recognition of severity of illness and markers of risk; appreciation of urgency;and requirement to escalate to more senior doctors.
These aspects of care priortocardiac arrest provide the biggest opportunities to improve patient outcome, with many other areas for improvement also highlighted.
The report has raised two main challenges to all health care professionals:
- To ensure rapid and consistent recognition and management of acute illness in order to maximise patients’ chance of recovery.
- To ensure that decision-making about CPR is applied consistently, communicated effectively and that CPR is performed only on patients who are likely to benefit from it.
Ally Taft, Head of Clinical Negligence at Alsters Kelley solicitors, said: “This study seems to give an overall picture of a failure to recognise when a patient is deteriorating and to seek input from more senior doctors to prevent further deterioration.
“This is a scenario I have come across often in the complaints from patients or their relatives, which can lead to fatal consequences. It iscrucial that the report's conclusions are taken on board and implemented in hospitals throughout the UK”