Colour Banded Early Warning Observation Chart

The Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Trust
Luton, Bedfordshire, England


The Colour Banded Early Warning Observation Chart was introduced as a track and trigger tool to help nursing staff identify patients who are at risk of deteriorating through critical illness, and then obtain a timely response from either the doctor or outreach nurse.

If the observations fall in the red bands then the staff have identified a patient at risk and follow the instructions on the reverse of the chart to obtain an appropriate response.
If the observations fall into the yellow bands then staff compare with previous observations and if the observations have altered or they remain in the yellow bands on two or more consecutive occasions, then the staff have also identified a patient at risk and need to obtain a response using the instructions on the reverse of the chart.
The chart has been successful in identifying patients at risk and reducing failure to rescues within the hospital. Staff like the colour banded chart as it is eye-catching and easy to see when observations have fallen into the red or yellow bands.
This tool was introduced as part of the hospital's approach to reducing the hospital standardized mortality rate (HSMR) and increasing the reliability of clinical observations.
The Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Trust is part of the Safer Patients Network. Funded by The Health Foundation, an independent charity based in London, the initiative is designed to improve the quality and safety of health care in the UK by encouraging the uptake and spread of best practices.
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