Angie Ramsey, RN, CN-III from 6 Children's educates a
The Pediatric Rapid Response System provides an additional layer of safety and support for our patients and their medical team. The system allows any individual to seek specialized care when a patient's condition is worsening rapidly. The team, comprised of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Fellow, a PICU Charge Nurse, a PICU Respiratory Therapist, a Senior Pediatric Resident, responds to a call within minutes and arrives at the patient's room to provide needed care. Relying on the recognition of early warning signs, the system is intended to prevent cardiac arrests and provide better outcomes for our patients.
Family activation is a system that enables members of a patient's family to call the rapid response team. Understanding that family members know a child better than anyone else, family activation empowers families to seek needed care on behalf of the patient. The rapid response team responds to a call from a family member in the exact same way that they would to a call from a medical professional.
At N.C. Children's Hospital, we strive to provide patient- and family-centered care to all our patients. Family activation recognizes family members as an important part of the patient's medical team. The concerns of family members are valid and deserving of prompt response from our medical staff. Family activation of the rapid response team is one way of responding to families and improving the care that we offer our patients.
Upon admission to N.C. Children's Hospital, each family is educated about the rapid response system by the nursing staff. Posters hang in each pediatric room to remind families of the number to call, and informational fliers are available throughout the hospital. The medical team reminds families that they can activate the rapid response team any time that their child's condition is worsening rapidly, and there is no such thing as a false alarm.
Examples of the family education and awareness tools used at N.C. Children's Hospital are available here.
When a family member activates the system, the rapid response team arrives at the patient's location within minutes in the same way that they would for any other rapid response system call.
N.C. Children's worked closely with advocates for family-centered care and heard from parents whose children had needed rapid response. After addressing some concerns from providers and parents, N.C. Children's piloted family activation in two pediatric units. Implementation on a small scale helped us learn lessons about family and staff education. In April 2007, family activation was implemented throughout the Children's Hospital. We educated staff about how to talk to families, and emphasized the importance of maintaining the "no false alarm" attitude for all rapid response system calls.
To date, all rapid response system calls made by family members have been appropriate. The team has responded to all family activations and provided needed care to the patient.
The number of calls per 1000 discharges has increased since the implementation of family activation. Though most rapid response calls are still made by members of the medical staff, the call is often prompted by concern from a family member. Increased awareness amongst family members and staff has created a more patient- and family-centered climate at N.C. Children's. We continue to improve upon the rapid response system and family activation. Ongoing education of staff and families is essential for the success of this system.