Rapid Response Events in Hospitalized Patients: Patient Symptoms and Clinician Communication.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

CONTEXT: Patients triggering rapid response team (RRT) intervention are at high risk for adverse outcomes. Data on symptom burden of these patients do not currently exist, and current symptom management and communication practices of RRT clinicians are unknown. OBJECTIVES: We sought to identify the symptom experience of RRT patients and observe how RRT clinicians communicate with patients and their families. METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study from August to December 2015. Investigators attending RRT events measured frequencies of symptom assessment, communication, and supportive behaviors by RRT clinicians. As the rapid response event concluded, investigators measured patient-reported pain, dyspnea, and anxiety using a numeric rating scale of 0 (none) to 10 (most severe), with uncontrolled symptoms defined as numeric rating scale score of ≥4. RESULTS: We observed a total of 52 RRT events. RRT clinicians assessed for pain during the event in 62% of alert patients, dyspnea in 38%, and anxiety in 21%. Goals of care were discussed during 3% of events and within 24 hours in 13%. For the primary outcome measure, at the RRT event conclusion, 44% of alert patients had uncontrolled pain, 39% had uncontrolled dyspnea, and 35% had uncontrolled anxiety. CONCLUSION: Hospitalized patients triggering RRT events have a high degree of uncontrolled symptoms that are infrequently assessed and treated. Although these patients experience an acute change in medical status and are at high risk for adverse outcomes, goals-of-care discussions with RRT patients or families are rarely documented in the period after the events.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Austin, CA; Choudhury, S; Lincoln, T; Chang, LH; Cox, CE; Weaver, MA; Hanson, LC; Nelson, JE; Carson, SS

Published Date

  • March 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 55 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 946 - 952

PubMed ID

  • 29225117

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5856233

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-6513

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.11.086


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States