Identifying the critically ill patient is a major challenge at hospitals. Unrecognized deterioration of patients is estimated to cost more than 100.000 lives per year in the US alone. It is not only important to identify the critically ill patient but also to communicate the situation to the rest of the hospital staff involved.
The Early Warning Score (EWS) is a simple clinical score that can be used by hospital medical staff as well as emergency medical services to quickly determine the degree of illness of a patient. It is based on data derived from four physiological readings (systolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature) and the observation of the level of consciousness (AVPU). The resulting observations are compared to a normal range to generate a single composite score. A score of five or more is statistically linked to increased likelihood of death or admission to an intensive care unit.
Different EWS systems are in use worldwide and the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has e.g. decided to introduce a nation-wide NHS Early Warning Score to achieve the goal of having “the right person, in the right setting – first time!”
Within hospitals, the EWS is often used as part of a "track-and-trigger" system whereby an increasing score produces an escalated response varying from increasing the frequency of patient's observations up to urgent review by a rapid response or Medical Emergency Team (MET call).
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Read the disclaimer before use. All information in this application is for educational purposes only.