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Author: Michelle Felton
Date: December 2012
Journal: Emergency Nurse
Issue: Volume 20, Number 8
Keywords: Assessment, deteriorating patients, observations
Patients’ conditions can deteriorate quickly and potentially result in unnecessary death. Although this is more common in acute clinical settings, it can happen in any setting, and all nurses should be aware of signs of deterioration. In many cases, patient deterioration appears to happen quickly, but actually begins up to 24 hours before a critical phase. This article presents a case study based on events witnessed by the author while working in a hospital emergency department outside the area in which she is usually employed. It is intended to illustrate the importance of making and documenting regular observations in acute patient care, and to help nurses recognise the need for continued assessment of deteriorating patients.
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