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Intrahospital transfer of critically ill patients; a prospective audit within Flinders Medical Centre

Intensive Care Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, South Australia, Australia

Summary

A prospective observational audit of 32 intrahospital transfers of critically ill patients was undertaken within Flinders Medical Centre. The aim was to assess the adherence of recommended staffing and equipment required during intrahospital transfer according to the "Minimum standards for intrahospital transport of critically ill patients" (PS39) published in 2003 by the Joint Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. Incident monitoring was also performed during the audit. Findings showed adequate staffing for 75% of the transfers observed. Oxygen saturation and blood pressure monitoring were present in 97%, heart rate monitoring in 90.5%, electrocardiogram monitoring in 84.5% and capnometry monitoring in 75% of the intrahospital transfers observed. Overall, 44% of transfers resulted in incident occurrence, many of which were preventable with careful planning and increased communication between staff. Intensive care units are encouraged to continually evaluate their intrahospital transportation of critically ill patients and to identify system problems contributing to failure of adherence to the current guidelines.

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