Patients exercise good judgment when empowered to call a rapid response team

When patients at one of Southern California's busiest hospitals were offered a panic button that allows them to initiate a rapid response team, they exercised good judgment and did not over-use the special help button, Today's Hospitalist reports.

St. Joseph Hospital, in Orange, launched its "Condition H" initiative (the "H" stands for "Help") in 2008 and has since experienced just 70 "Condition H" calls.

Despite fears that patients would use the special call button for non-emergencies, the hospital found that patients used the button only as a last resort.

"Our biggest problem occurs when more than one physician is seeing the patient, mostly consulting physicians," said Soudi Bogert, RN, CCRN, critical care outcomes coordinator and cochair of the medical emergency team. "Patients get conflicting advice about the plan of care, and they have no idea what is going on. The doctors are talking to the patient, but the doctors aren't talking to each other."

The hospital encourages patients to use the help button with informational posters, as well as informs staff that the call for help is not a reflection of poor care.

Bogert recommends that other hospitals that are considering similar call buttons take the leap and implement a comparable program.

For more:
- check out Today's Hospitalist article