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Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration Standard

Recognition of, and response to, acute deterioration in children is difficult due to number of factors.

Why does this standard need special consideration by health service organisations that provide care for children?

There are several physiological differences between children and adults. For example, a young child’s airway is shaped in a way that can make intubation more difficult, they have a relatively higher metabolic and oxygen consumption rate, their circulating blood volume is higher, and stroke volume is small and relatively fixed.67

As we age, our vital signs mature, and the way that our bodies cope with acute illness or injury changes. Recognition of, and response to, acute deterioration in children is difficult because:

  • Children’s physiological responses to critical illnesses and treatments differ from those of adults
  • During the progress of an acute illness, children may look relatively well before deteriorating very suddenly
  • Even when children present with relatively minor illnesses, deterioration can occur rapidly.68

These factors have implications for clinicians who provide care for children.
 

Last updated 3rd July, 2018 at 01:16am
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References

67. ACT Health. COMPASS: ‘pointing you in the right direction’. 1st ed. Canberra: ACT Health; 2009 (accessed Jul 2016).

68. Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health. Why children die: a pilot study 2006. London: CEMACH; 2008 (accessed Jul 2016).

69. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for recognising and responding to acute physiological deterioration. 2nd ed. Sydney: ACSQHC; 2017.

70. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for safe and high-quality end-of-life care. Sydney: ACSQHC; 2015.

71. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for recognising and responding to deterioration in a person’s mental state. Sydney: ACSQHC; 2017.