Children in the Emergency Department (ED) deteriorate unexpectedly. Paediatric sentinel events and coroners’ cases have recurring themes related to parent/carers' inability to effectively escalate their concerns about their child's deterioration whilst in the ED. Early recognition of deterioration is fundamental for providing timely treatment and improving outcomes for children.
Co-designed with consumers, the Parental Recognition of the Deteriorating Child Quality Improvement Pilot Project focussed on improving recognition of the deteriorating child in the ED by including parents/carers as part of the treating team and a critical component for providing timely treatment to lead to better outcomes for children.
In this project, consumer tools were developed to facilitate early recognition of deterioration in their child, providing language for parents to frame their concerns when communicating with clinical staff, clarifying existing communication channels to voice their concerns, and providing pathways for escalation should their concerns not be addressed.
The outcomes of this project have been measured by parental knowledge and confidence with the processes in place for parental recognition and escalation of deterioration in their own children.