NICE has issued guidance on the monitoring and treatment of acutely ill patients in hospital.
This 'short' clinical guideline (SCG) is the first of its kind, and has a narrower focus than the traditional clinical guidelines issued by NICE.
The institute said the guideline offered advice on how serious problems can be avoided by monitoring patients regularly and taking appropriate action if they show signs of becoming worse.
Sheila Adam, nurse consultant in critical care at University College Hospitals, London, and guideline development group member, said: 'This guidance will help nursing staff on the wards to ensure appropriate systems are in place to recognise and respond to an acutely ill patient.
'It will also guide hospitals in ensuring the type of expert support ward nurses need is available in a timely manner,' she said.