A national survey of early warning systems for maternal health

An early warning system is recommended in maternity units to detect early deterioration and help prevent maternal deaths and complications.  An electronic questionnaire was sent to all lead obstetric anaesthetists to find out about the systems in use.  All respondents reported use of such a system (an increase from about 20% five years previously) and agreed on the top six vital signs to monitor.  91% agreed that systems were helpful in recognising those seriously ill and calling for prompt specialist intervention.  Staffing pressures were perceived as the greatest barrier to their use and improved monitoring, education, and training for healthcare professionals were identified as priority areas for the  future.

Isaacs, R.A., Wee, M.Y., Sheppard, Z.A., Thomas, S., Hundley, V., Smith, G.B., van Teijlingen, E., Thomas, P.W. et al., 2014. A national survey of obstetric early warning systems in the United Kingdom: five years on. Anaesthesia, 69 (7), 687-692.