A team of advanced nurse practitioners on call 24 hours a day have helped reduce the number of cardiac arrests at their trust by a fifth.
The programme, led by nurse consultant Paul Fish, means every cardiac arrest that happens at County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust is followed up by one of the advanced nursing team within an hour.
The nurses then deliver feedback about good and bad practice, and how the arrest could – if possible – have been prevented to staff involved, Mr Fish told delegates last week at the Patient Safety Congress in Birmingham.
He started the project after realising the chance of surviving a resuscitation attempt had improved little since the 1960s and was not likely to improve further. Instead, the programme focuses on prevention by reacting quickly to early warning scores and getting to patients before they go into cardiac arrest.
Mr Fish told the conference that the process of feeding back to staff had been “difficult” at first, but said most now accepted they would get a visit from a team if they had a cardiac arrest on their ward.
The 20% reduction in cardiac arrests at the trust over the past two years means there are currently just 10 or 11 cardiac arrests a month, on average, across the trust’s two sites – equivalent to 0.62 per 1,000 bed days.