Carbon monoxide: raising awareness of the silent killer in the emergency department.

MALIK, Fahad Siddique, GHAZAL ASSWAD, Randa and CLARKE, Simon (2022). Carbon monoxide: raising awareness of the silent killer in the emergency department. BMJ open quality, 11 (2): e001777.

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Background Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless gas produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon containing materials. CO poisoning causes a range of symptoms of which headache is the most common, occurring in up to 90% of patients. An audit in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UK found a lack of clinical awareness among healthcare professionals (HCPs) with CO exposure being considered in only 0.8% of patients presenting with non-traumatic headache. This Quality Improvement Project (QIP) aimed to increase this consideration to 50% of presentations. Methods Three separate sequential Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycles were instigated. Interventions involved verbal reminders to frontline HCPs (cycle 1), using strategically placed CO posters (cycle 2) and finally designing and introducing a CO sticker education scheme (cycle 3). These stickers, highlighting the approved CO COMA acronym, were placed in patient notes to serve as a physical reminder for HCPs when seeing patients. Rapid cycle sequencing was used with each cycle lasting 2 weeks. Patient notes were analysed for evidence that the HCP considered a diagnosis of CO. Results An average of 61 patients were included in each PDSA cycle. Given baseline findings, each cycle demonstrated positive results with CO awareness being considered in 1.7% and 10.0% of patients with non-traumatic headache following cycles 1 and 2, respectively. The final PDSA cycle demonstrated significant increase in consideration of CO to 42.1% of non-traumatic headache presentations. Conclusion This QIP demonstrated that even small interventions can lead to significant change in awareness of CO exposure. Implementation of a CO sticker education scheme is a feasible way of increasing awareness among emergency care professionals and serves as a low-cost, easy to use, transferable and sustainable solution to address the lack of CO awareness in acute emergency settings. Importantly, this serves to promote improved patient safety.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Headache; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; Carbon Monoxide; Emergency Service, Hospital; Quality Improvement; PDSA; Quality improvement; Emergency department; Emergency department; PDSA; Quality improvement; Carbon Monoxide; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; Emergency Service, Hospital; Headache; Humans; Quality Improvement
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2022 17:29
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 09:31

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