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Title: Exploring and improving the escalation of care process for deteriorating patients on surgical wards in UK hospitals
Author: Johnston, Maximilian Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 1045
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2015
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Despite impressive progress in technical skills, the rate of adverse events in surgery remains unfavourably high. The variation seen in surgical outcomes may be dependent on the quality of ward-based surgical care provided to post-operative patients with complications, specifically, the recognition, communication and response to patient deterioration. This process can be termed escalation of care and is an under-explored area of surgical research. This thesis demonstrates the impact of delays in the escalation of care process on patient outcome. The facilitators of, and barriers to, escalation of care are then identified and described in the context of the UK surgical department. In order to prioritise areas within the escalation of care process amenable to intervention, a systematic risk assessment was conducted revealing suboptimal communication technology and a lack of human factors education as key failures. To ensure that communication technology intervention was conducted based on evidence, several exploratory studies describe the current methods of communication in surgery and explore areas of innovation and intervention. Following this, a human factors intervention bundle was implemented within a busy surgical department, which successfully improved supervision, escalation of care and safety culture. This thesis describes, for the first time, escalation of care in surgery and outlines important strategies for intervention in this safety-critical process. To date, ward-based care has been one of the most under-researched areas in surgery, despite its clear importance. The tools to improve escalation of care in surgery have been described and initial attempts at implementation have demonstrated great promise. Future use of these strategies should benefit surgeons and other clinical staff of all grades and ultimately, the surgical patient.
Supervisor: Darzi, Ara ; King, Dominic ; Arora, Sonal Sponsor: National Institute for Health Research
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available