In March 2006, a Rapid Response Team (RRT) was developed at Orange Regional Medical Center’s Horton Campus to provide help when there are signs that a patient is becoming much sicker. The goal of the RRT is to provide critical care to patients (outside of the Intensive Care Unit) before serious problems develop.
The RRT consists of a critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist. The team is on call at all times and will arrive bedside within ten minutes of receiving notice from other staff members. There are a number of reasons staff may page the RRT, including: change in heart rate, blood pressure, mental status, respiratory rate or general concern over a patient’s condition.
The goal of the Rapid Response Team is to rescue patients by providing fast and early intervention through a collaborative approach,” said Anne Nelson, administrator of cardiopulmonary services at Orange Regional Medical Center. “If you have multiple practitioners looking at a problem, it gives you more to choose from in terms of solving the issue.”
According to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, a trial of similar medical emergency teams found that the number of cardiac arrests declined by 65%, deaths from cardiac arrests dropped by 56% and inpatient deaths decreased by 25%. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, Institute for Healthcare Improvement is promoting the strategy of rapid response teams as part of its campaign to save 100,000 lives, of which Orange Regional Medical Center is a participant.
“By summer’s end, the Rapid Response Team will be introduced at our Arden Hill Campus,” said Nelson. “Orange Regional Medical Center is continually focusing on quality improvement and enhancing patient care. We know our staff members and the individuals on the Rapid Response Team are truly making a difference in our community.”