Acutely ill patients in hospital: Recognition of and response to acute illness in adults in hospital

NICE guidelines [CG50] Published date:

Consultation on review proposal with stakeholders: TBC - TBC

Review decision date: December 2013

Review decision: 

In September 2013 the Senior Management Team approved a list of 27 clinical guidelines to be consulted on as the first candidates for a static list to be created in CCP. This list included CG50. In light of information provided during the consultation that took place in October 2013 it was agreed that CG50 Acutely ill patients in hospital should not transfer to the static list, and the guideline should remain on the active surveillance list. For further information, please refer to the relevant GE paper here.

Next review date: December 2015

Sometimes, the health of a patient in hospital may get worse suddenly (this is called becoming acutely ill). There are certain times when this is more likely, for example following an emergency admission to hospital, after surgery and after leaving critical care. However, it can happen at any stage of an illness. It increases the patient's risk of needing to stay longer in hospital, not recovering fully or dying.

Monitoring patients (checking them and their health) regularly while they are in hospital and taking action if they show signs of becoming worse can help avoid serious problems.

The NICE clinical guideline describes how patients in acute hospitals should be monitored to help identify those whose health becomes worse and how they should be cared for if this happens.

The advice in the guideline covers:

  • all adult patients in hospital, including patients in the emergency department being admitted to hospital and those being moved between departments.

It does not specifically look at the care of:

  • children
  • patients in critical care areas, for example in an intensive care or high dependency unit
  • people who are having treatment for symptoms and pain in the final stages of a terminal illness.

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