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ABCDE saves lives

03 Jun 2014 09:45:11

 Rotherham patients are in safe hands thanks to an easy to remember yet lifesaving approach to dealing with medical emergencies.
A poster and pocket guide has been introduced to help staff administer care using the ABCDE tool. The tool supports health care professionals to safely and rapidly assess and treat patients in potentially life-threatening situations.
Jennie Swift, the simulation lead at TRFT and a Resuscitation Council UK instructor, has helped embed the principle across both hospital and community settings in Rotherham.
Jennie said: “The ABCDE method can quickly be put into action when patients experience changes in their condition, such as sudden collapse, a trigger on the Trust’s patient at risk form (PAR) – such as low blood pressure or increased heart rate, deterioration or development of new or exacerbated symptoms.
“The technique systematically guides healthcare staff and clinicians through a series of vital checks; prioritising factors like making sure a patient’s patent’s airway is unobstructed and that ensuring that breathing and circulation aren’t compromised.
“Through a process of elimination, the most appropriate treatment can then be quickly administered to prevent further deterioration and to stabilise the patient.”
Eye-catching and informative prompt cards have been developed to remind staff of the steps to take to assess patients and posters are displayed around the Trust to drive home the importance of prioritising the checks.
Jennie added: “I’m pleased that teams have embraced this method of working which minimises the risk of symptoms being missed and overall enhances the delivery of rapid, safe, high quality care.
“Using ABCDE to deliver rapid care also increases the likelihood of a better long-term outcome for the patient.”
The ABCDE system works alongside other patient assessment methods used at the Trust such as the PAR (Patient at Risk) and SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation) handover tool techniques and it emphasises important factors such as airway, breathing, circulation, blood glucose measurement and exposure, i.e. rashes, blood loss or change in temperature, for both the patient and health care professional.
ABCDE has roots in America and is widely used across UK hospitals and other medical settings.

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