How to fill in and interpret an observation chart
How to identify a deteriorating patient using the National Early Warning Score
Observation charts are used by clinical teams to record a patient’s physiological parameters: respiratory rate, oxygen saturation levels, blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and level of consciousness. Early warning scores are derived from these parameters and are used to alert members of the team to deterioration in a patient’s condition and indicate the most appropriate escalation of care.
Early warning scoring tools are found on the observation chart at the patient’s bedside, and this chart must be up to date and complete to facilitate timely escalation of a deteriorating or acutely ill patient. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that all adult patients in acute hospital settings in the United Kingdom should have their physiological observations recorded every 12 hours, unless a decision has been made at a senior level to increase or decrease this frequency.1
Evidence exists, however, that acutely unwell patients in UK hospitals receive