The impact of a bundled intrahospital transfer protocol on the safety of critically ill patients in a South African Metropolitan Hospital System
Background: Intrahospital transfer (IHT) of critically ill patients is associated with a high incidence of adverse events (AEs). This study aimed to determine whether the introduction of an intervention bundle could decrease AEs during, and immediately after IHT to the intensive care unit (ICU), as compared to event rates prior to the bundle’s introduction.
Methods: This was a prospective, pre- and post-intervention trial, conducted in both a regional and tertiary hospital in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The intervention bundle consisted of an IHT protocol, a transport backpack, emergency drug container and simulation training. Primary outcomes were: 1) composite outcome of serious AEs, and 2) composite outcome of AEs contributing directly to morbidity or mortality. Secondary outcomes were miscellaneous complications, equipment-related AEs, total number of AEs, total number of IHTs complicated by AEs and the subjective measure of IHTs needing intervention within the first 30 minutes after arrival in ICU.
Results: There were 381 pre-intervention IHTs and 264 post-intervention IHTs with one documented serious AE. Adverse events directly contributing to morbidity or mortality showed a reduction from 58.3% (CI 0.53–0.63) pre-intervention, to 56.1% (CI 0.50–0.62) post-intervention (p = 0.6). Miscellaneous complications yielded a reduction of 12.9% (CI 10.3–14.7%) pre-intervention to 9.5% (CI 8.3–11.1%) post-intervention (p = 0.2). Equipment-related AE reduced from 5.2% (CI 3.4–8%) to 1.9% (CI 0.8–4.5%) (p = 0.03). The total number of AEs reduced from 5% (CI 3.6–7.4%) to 4.1% (CI 2.4–6.8%) (p = 0.03), while the total number of transfers complicated by AEs reduced from 63.3% (CI 61.9–65.1%) to 60.6% (CI 58.8–63.1%) (p = 0.5). There was a reduction in IHTs requiring intervention within the first 30 minutes of arrival in ICU (34.6% to 22.7%; p = 0.001).
Conclusion: These results support the use of an intervention bundle to decrease the incidence of AEs during IHT.
The full article is available at https://doi.org/10.36303/SAJAA.2020.26.3.2343
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