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Journal Article > Study
Paciotti B, Roberts KE, Tibbetts KM, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2014;40:187-192.
In an effort to provide more timely responses to clinical deteriorations, some pediatric medical centers have enabled family members to directly activate medical emergency teams (METs). This study used semistructured interviews to examine physicians' viewpoints on issues related to family-activated METs. Even though the majority of physicians said they depend on families to identify subtle changes in their child's condition, 93% of respondents reported that families should not be able to access the MET directly. Some concerns included families' lack of medical knowledge and training to determine when a MET is necessary, and the belief that this responsibility could provide an undue burden and stress on family members. These tensions are similar to prior discussions about other efforts to engage patients in their own safety during hospitalization.
Journal Article > Study
Developing and evaluating the success of a family activated medical emergency team: a quality improvement report.
Brady PW, Zix J, Brilli R, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2015;24:203-211.
Allowing families to activate medical emergency teams (METs) may aid in the early detection of clinical deterioration. However, physicians have expressed concerns that families do not understand when an MET is necessary and that this responsibility could present an undue stress on family members. This study reports on the experience of family-activated MET calls over a 6-year period at an academic children's hospital. There were 83 family-activated MET calls, representing less than 3% of all MET responses at this hospital. Families most frequently requested METs for concerns regarding clinical deterioration, but less than one-quarter of these calls resulted in patients being transferred to an intensive care unit, compared to 60% of clinician-activated METs. Since families called METs only between one to two times per month, the program was not felt to pose a substantial burden. The authors also point out that some family-activated METs identified other clinically relevant information that may not have otherwise been shared with the primary clinical team, as well as important communication issues that could have led to adverse events.