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Patient Safety First encourages trusts to ‘Count your calls’ to reduce cardiac arrests and death

In January 2010 Patient Safety First launches the first of four focus weeks as part of its campaign to help trusts eliminate avoidable death and harm to patients.

The first focus week on ‘Count your calls’ encourages trusts to count their cardiac arrest calls and gather key information to help identify and make improvements aimed at reducing the number of in-hospital cardiac arrests and deaths. ‘Count your calls’ is part of Patient Safety First’s reducing harm from deterioration intervention which aims to improve patient safety through the earlier recognition of deterioration in patients.

Marie-Noelle Orzel, Patient Safety First’s deterioration intervention lead and Director of Nursing & Patient Care at Royal Devon & Exeter Foundation Trust says:  “Having clear data is central to being able to make and measure improvements to patients at risk of deterioration and cardiac arrest.  Trusts can determine how to improve safety for their patients by understanding where, when and what type of calls happen, whether they happen to particular patient groups and the reasons why a call is required.”

Patient Safety First provides a practical five-step approach for how trusts can monitor the types of cardiac arrest calls they have: The five steps to ‘Count your calls’ are:

  • Where are your cardiac arrest calls or cardiac arrests coming from? This helps to identify potential ‘hotspots’ within the hospital that need targeted work.
  • When are your cardiac arrest calls or cardiac arrests occurring? This will help to identify if there are certain days or times that are a specific problem, for example at night or at the weekend.
  • Who are the individual patients needing cardiac arrest calls? Are there particular patient groups with high levels of calls or deaths associated with cardiac arrest? Identifying and collecting key  demographic data helps build a picture of any particular patient groups that are associated with calls.
  • What happened? What type of call or cardiac arrest was it? What was the immediate outcome? This helps to identify the type of cardiac arrest call or type of cardiac arrest and provides data on the immediate outcome.
  • Why was a cardiac arrest call required? This helps to determine whether a cardiac arrest call or cardiac arrest is predictable or unpredictable. Potentially predictable calls can be further classified as preventable or unpreventable.

Patient Safety First is encouraging trusts to take advantage of the range of online resources and tools designed to help them make improvements at a local level –

‘Count your calls’  is the first of four Patient Safety First focus weeks that will provide trusts with an opportunity to explore their patient safety issues and join online discussions with experts.

The focus weeks include:

  • 18th January – Focus on Deterioration : ‘Count your calls’
  • 1st February – Focus on Human Factors in healthcare
  • 1st March – Focus on Ventilator care bundles: stories of improvement
  • 8th March – Focus on Insulin: ‘Testing a new care bundle for Insulin prescribing’.

For more information visit

Published on: January 20, 2010

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

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