Spotting the sick child (DH)
The assessment of an acutely sick child is challenging and requires healthcare professionals to have the appropriate skills and competencies. Children need a different approach from adults and many health professionals are anxious about assessing children.
This interactive website is designed for healthcare professionals to improve their skills in assessing the seven most common acute problems for which children see their family doctor, or go to an urgent care clinic or emergency department. It is supported by a wide range of organisations including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the College of Emergency Medicine and the Royal College of Nursing.
Note access to this site is free, but you do need to register with an email address, password and give some essential information.
The website is split into five main areas. First-time visitors should start with "Basic Child Assessment" followed by "Symptoms".
Basic Child Assessment
There is a section with advice on communicating with children. The "minute tool kit" gives you a framework for a quick but thorough "top to toe" examination of a child. The “How To” section shows how to actually do these checks.
This area has seven sections: Difficulty in Breathing, Fever, Rash, Fits, Dehydration, Abdominal Pain and Head Injury. Each section gives you key background information, key points in the history, key points in the examination and "red flag" conditions to look out for.
My Waiting Room
"Patient Stories" is a section where you can follow patients through an interactive journey from arrival to finishing your assessment. You are in the hot seat and decisions on patient assessment and management are yours! "Short cases" are similar but shorter. "Test and My Certificate" is a formal test where you can get a certificate to show off your sick child spotting skills.
In this area are links to other educational resources, for which NICE accepts no responsibility; and guidelines from NICE and others.
In this area you can personalise the website on your own page.
Visit Spotting the sick child
This resource was commissioned by the Department of Health and developed independently by a working party1 led by Prof. Monica Lakhanpaul, NICE Fellow, Consultant Paediatrician & Professor at University College London. It incorporates NICE guidance from eight clinical guidelines, along with supplementary practical information, with the intention of reflecting the guidance and facilitating its implementation. NICE fully supports the use of the guidance for this purpose and has undertaken a check of the resource at the point at which this link was published. NICE is satisfied that the resource broadly supports the guidance. However, NICE is unable to confirm that all of the content at any one time accurately reflects the guidance, and therefore no guarantees are given by NICE in this regard. If an individual clinician has any queries or concerns about the relationship between NICE guidance and this educational resource, they should always refer to the original guidance published by NICE. This should in all cases be regarded as the only definitive statement of the guidance. The related NICE clinical guidelines are:
- Feverish Illness in Children, (2007) NICE clinical guideline 47, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG47
- Urinary tract infection in children, (2007) NICE clinical guideline 54, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG54
- Head Injury, (2007) NICE clinical guideline 56, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG56
- Atopic eczema in children, (2007) NICE clinical guideline 57, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG57
- Diarrhoea and vomiting in children under 5 (2009) NICE clinical guideline 84, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG84
- When to suspect child maltreatment, (2009) NICE clinical guideline 89, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG89
- Bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia, (2010) NICE clinical guideline 102, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG102
- Epilepsy, (2012) NICE clinical guideline 137, accessible at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG137
1. Working party membership
Professor Monica Lakhanpaul MBChB, MRCP, FRCPCH, DM, NICE Fellow, Professor and Consultant Paediatrician at UCL (previously Leicester University)
Dr Ffion Davies, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
Dr Damian Roland, NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow, Leicester University,
Dr Holger Wahl, paediatric registrar
Dr Nick Blackwell, OCB Media
This page was last updated: 03 February 2012