The prognostic value of national early warning scores (NEWS) during transfer of care from community settings to hospital: a retrospective service evaluation
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Matthew Inada-Kim, Thomas Knight, Michelle Sullivan, Mark Ainsworth-Smith, Neil Pike, Mathew Richardson, Gail Hayward and Daniel Lasserson.The prognostic value of national early warning scores (NEWS) during transfer of care from community settings to hospital: a retrospective service evaluation. BJGP Open 2020; 4 (2):
Background The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) calculated from physiological observations provides a simple away to identify and respond to the deteriorating patient. There is increasing interest in the application of NEWS to facilitate referrals from the community. Aim To establish whether elevated NEWS are associated with adverse outcomes at 5 and 30 days when obtained in a community setting at the time of transfer to an acute setting. Design & setting A retrospective service evaluation was undertaken using a database of emergency admissions to secondary care from two NHS district general hospitals within the South of England between January 2018 and April 2019. Method The performance of NEWS recorded in a community setting to predict death or critical care admission at 5 and 30 days was calculated using established thresholds. Results 2786 referrals from primary care were analysed. The 5 day and 30 day mortality was 2.2% (1.7 to 2.8) and 7.1% (6.2 to 8.1). The prevalence of the composite outcome was 3.4% (2.8 to 4.2) at 5 days and 8.5% (7.5 to 9.6) at 30 days. The risk of adverse outcomes increased incrementally with increasing NEWS. When calculated at the point of referral from primary care the positive predictive value of death at 5 and 30 days was 15% (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 12 to 19) and 23% (95% CI = 17 to 30) in the high-risk NEWS group. Conclusion Elevated NEWS obtained in the community during the process of emergency admission are associated with adverse outcomes. Communicating NEWS may allow downstream care to be better calibrated to risk.