A 24 hour team has been set up at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust to care for critically ill patients outside the critical care unit.
The Critical Care Response Team (CCRT), which has been running for two months, is made up of six nurses with Acute Care Practitioner qualifications or working towards these qualifications, covering the hospital wards 24/7.
Lead Intensive Care Consultant Dr Aditya Kuravi said: “There are many inpatients who, although don’t need admission to the Intensive Care Unit, are acutely unwell and would benefit from CCRT input. The CCRT assesses patients and initiates their management, supports the ward team to manage acutely ill patients, monitors them in the existing environment, and/or transfers them to the critical care unit early to prevent further deterioration. This is called critical care without walls.”
Julie Elmore, Matron for Critical Care Services, said nurses are able to move between the critical care unit and CCRT as needed.
“The skill mix needed is interchangeable between critical care nursing and the CCRT workforce so a constant stream of nurses moves between the two environments to work collaboratively with the hospital ward staff to prevent patient deterioration and avoid critical care admission. This improves patient outcomes and patient experience.
“In some cases people can have an acute episode that rapidly improves with timely intervention,” she explained. “This approach of effective early intervention means that we’re able to avoid admitting people into the critical care unit and they can return to their home environment earlier where they are at their happiest.”
Senior Sister Angela Dixon said around 20 patients are reviewed on a daily basis by the CCRT team either before critical care admission or following their critical care discharge. These patients are discussed on a regular basis during the daily safety huddle so the whole team has a clear understanding of the management plan.
“This approach will also help early discharge from the critical care unit to the ward and we are proud to be offering an improved service that will have a positive impact on our patients and their families,” she said.