Critical care outreach
These teams are on hand to help in an emergency
- By: James Nicholas Fullerton, Lewys James Richmond, Roger Maurice Townsend
You’re in your first week as a first year foundation programme doctor on a busy medical firm. Its 16:50 on Friday, and the senior ward nurse asks you to review a patient whose vital signs have worsened. You arrive at the bedside to find that the patient looks terrible. His blood pressure is not recordable, his pulse is off the chart, and his consciousness is clearly reduced. Your team have all gone home, and the medical and intensive care registrars on-call are stuck in the emergency department. You have never felt more alone. What do you do? The answer may be simple: call critical care outreach.
Critical care outreach teams are becoming ubiquitous in UK hospitals, yet their role, application, and importance are widely misunderstood and underappreciated by medical students and junior doctors. We spoke to Valerie Forde, critical care outreach lead at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, to find