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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Severe illness getting noticed sooner - SIGNS-for-Kids: developing an illness recognition tool to connect home and hospital.

Gilleland J, Bayfield D, Bayliss A, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2019;8(4):e000763.

Early warning systems and trigger tools are frequently used in inpatient settings to identify clinical deterioration and prevent adverse events in pediatric populations, but their use in community settings to improve illness detection and time to treatment is less common. The article discusses a consensus workshop, the goal of which was to develop the “severe illness getting noticed sooner” (SIGNS-for-kids) tool to empower parents and caregivers by identifying specific cues of severe illness in infants and children. The panel, comprised of parents and healthcare experts, identified five cues: (1) behavior, such as reduced interaction or lack of movement, (2) breathing, including noticeable breathing or long pauses between breaths, (3) skin, such as jaundice or blueish skin/tongue, (4) fluids, such as persistent vomiting or lack of urine, and (5) response to rescue treatments, or deterioration despite use of usually effective treatment.