Nevin Manimala Statistics

Acute clinical deterioration and consumer escalation: The understanding and perceptions of hospital staff

PLoS One. 2022 Jun 16;17(6):e0269921. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269921. eCollection 2022.


INTRODUCTION: Consumer escalation systems allow patients and families to escalate concerns about acute clinical deterioration. Hospital staff can impact upon the success of this process. As part of evaluation processes within a Local Health Network, where a consumer escalation system was introduced in accordance with National requirements, we sought to explore clinicians’ understanding and perceptions of consumer escalation.

METHODS: Voluntary and anonymous staff surveys pre, and post, system introduction. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics, chi-square independence, and non-parametric independent samples median tests. Qualitative data was evaluated using content analysis and cross-referenced with quantitative responses.

RESULTS: Respondent’s (pre: 215; post: 89) area of work varied significantly between survey periods. Most agreed that patients/families have a sound knowledge of a patient’s typical health status (pre: 192/215 (89.3%); post 82/88 (93.2%)) and that patients/families should be encouraged to escalate concerns of deterioration to ward staff (pre: 209/212 (98.6%); post: 85/89 (95.5%)). Respondent perceptions of patient/family ability to recognise clinical deterioration varied. Staff agreement towards local response expectations decreased as the degree of clinical requirement increased. Staff concerns of increased workloads (pre: 90/214 (42.1%); post 12/72 (16.7%), p<0.001) and conflict generation (pre: 71/213 (33.3%); post: 7/71 (9.9%), p = 0.001) decreased significantly following system introduction. However, clinician perceptions of positive system effects also decreased (patient-staff rapport pre: 163/213 (76.5%); post: 38/72 (52.8%), p = 0.001; patient centred care pre: 188/214 (87.9%); post: 53/72 (73.6%), p = 0.012; patient safety pre: 173/214 (80.8%); post: 49/72 (68.1%), p = 0.077). Only 53% of respondents (pre: 112/213 (52.6%); post: 48/88 (54.5%)) perceived that patient/family have sufficient confidence to escalate concerns.

CONCLUSION: Consumer escalation systems require staff support. Staff perceptions may indicate, and act as, barriers to the operation of consumer escalation processes. Further exploration in identifying and managing staff barriers is crucial to the success of consumer escalation.

PMID:35709173 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0269921

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