Escalation-related decision making in acute deterioration: a retrospective case note review.

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Escalation-related decision making in acute deterioration: a retrospective case note review.

BMJ Open. 2018 Aug 17;8(8):e022021

Authors: Campling N, Cummings A, Myall M, Lund S, May CR, Pearce NW, Richardson A

AIM: To describe how decision making inter-relates with the sequence of events in individuals who die during admission and identify situations where formal treatment escalation plans (TEPs) may have utility.
DESIGN AND METHODS: A retrospective case note review using stratified sampling. Two data analysis methods were applied concurrently: directed content analysis and care management process mapping via annotated timelines for each case. Analysis was followed by expert clinician review (n=7), contributing to data interpretation.
SAMPLE: 45 cases, age range 38-96 years, 23 females and 22 males. Length of admission ranged from <24 hours to 97 days.
RESULTS: Process mapping led to a typology of care management, encompassing four trajectories: early de-escalation due to catastrophic event; treatment with curative intent throughout; treatment with curative intent until significant point; and early treatment limits set. Directed content analysis revealed a number of contextual issues influencing decision making. Three categories were identified: multiple clinician involvement, family involvement and lack of planning clarity; all framed by clinical complexity and uncertainty.
CONCLUSIONS: The review highlighted the complex care management and related decision-making processes for individuals who face acute deterioration. These processes involved multiple clinicians, from numerous specialities, often within hierarchical teams. The review identified the need for visible and clear management plans, in spite of the frame of clinical uncertainty. Formal TEPs can be used to convey such a set of plans. Opportunities need to be created for patients and their families to request TEPs, in consultation with the clinicians who know them best, outside of the traumatic circumstances of acute deterioration.

PMID: 30121604 [PubMed - in process]

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