McAlester Regional Health Center staffs a trained team of health professionals called the Rapid Response Team. This patient safety initiative is in response to a plan first launched in 2004 by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement called the “100,000 Lives Campaign.” The plan included the implementation of six quality initiatives designed to save 100,000 lives. Since that time the plan has been upgraded to the “5 Million Lives Campaign” adding another six initiatives. The goal is to prevent deaths in patients who are failing outside intensive care settings.
A key part of this plan is to establish Rapid Response Teams aimed at catching patients whose condition is in decline. The purpose of the team is to help save lives. Their role is to provide detailed assessment and stabilization when a patient’s condition is deteriorating. Additionally, the Rapid Response Team provides education and support to other nursing staff, thereby bringing a ‘second set of eyes’ to the bedside. The team also assists with transfers to a higher level of care, if necessary.
MRHC’s Rapid Response Teams are staffed with highly trained and experienced healthcare professionals including respiratory therapists and critical care nurses who work in conjunction with hospitalists, physicians and pharmacists. RR Teams work within protocol guidelines that enable them to make emergency treatment changes.
Anyone who has access to a patient has the right to request that the Rapid Response Team be contacted. Floor nurses and aides are trained to call the team if they see negative changes in the patient. Many times, family or friends of a patient are first to notice subtle changes that can lead to serious issues. In this event, family or friends are urged to let the nurse know and request the Rapid Response Team be mobilized.
Warning Signs that may indicate a patient is getting sicker include:
- Changes in the heart rate
- Difficulty breathing on own
- A drop in blood pressure
- Using the bathroom less or more frequently
- Confusion, agitation or other mental status changes