Implementation of an Early Warning Scoring System to Identify Patients With Cancer at Risk for Deterioration

MiKaela Olsen

Kathi Mooney

Ellen W. Evans

deterioration, communication, early warning
CJON 2016, 20(4), 374-376. DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.374-376

Early warning scoring systems are tools for nurses to help monitor their patients and improve how quickly a patient experiencing a sudden decline receives clinical care. Nurse leaders and frontline staff at a major academic medical center implemented a new early warning system that gives clear guidelines to nurses, nursing assistants, and other clinicians about vital-sign parameters and changes in patients’ mental status.

At a Glance

  • The early warning scoring system has been implemented on two inpatient units and in an outpatient infusion clinic.
  • Nurses and patient care technicians carry color-coded cards that remind them who to notify and how frequently to reassess after a patient is found to have abnormal vital signs.
  • Nurses and other staff members reported that they perceive improved interprofessional communication and greater confidence in their ability to recognize subtle signs that a patient may be at risk for rapid deterioration.
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