Executive Summary: Society of Critical Care Medicine Guidelines on Recognizing and Responding to Clinical Deterioration Outside the ICU

Kimia Honarmand, Randy S. Wax, Daleen Penoyer, Geoffery Lighthall, Valerie Danesh, Bram Rochwerg, Michael L. Cheatham, Daniel P. Davis, Michael Devita, James Downar, Dana Edelson, Alison Fox-Robichaud, Shigeki Fujitani, Raeann M. Fuller, Helen Haskell, Matthew Inada-Kim, Daryl Jones, Anand Kumar, Keith M. Olsen, Daniel D. RowleyJohn Welch, Marie R. Baldisseri, John Kellett, Heidi Knowles, Jonathan K. Shipley, Philipp Kolb, Sophie P. Wax, Jonathan D. Hecht, Frank Sebat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


RATIONALE: Clinical deterioration of patients hospitalized outside the ICU is a source of potentially reversible morbidity and mortality. To address this, some acute care facilities have implemented systems aimed at detecting and responding to such patients. OBJECTIVES: To provide evidence-based recommendations for hospital clinicians and administrators to optimize recognition and response to clinical deterioration in non-ICU patients. PANEL DESIGN: The 25-member panel included representatives from medicine, nursing, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, patient/family partners, and clinician-methodologists with expertise in developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. METHODS: We generated actionable questions using the Population, Intervention, Control, and Outcomes format and performed a systematic review of the literature to identify and synthesize the best available evidence. We used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach to determine certainty in the evidence and to formulate recommendations and good practice statements (GPSs). RESULTS: The panel issued 10 statements on recognizing and responding to non-ICU patients with critical illness. Healthcare personnel and institutions should ensure that all vital sign acquisition is timely and accurate (GPS). We make no recommendation on the use of continuous vital sign monitoring among "unselected" patients due to the absence of data regarding the benefit and the potential harms of false positive alarms, the risk of alarm fatigue, and cost. We suggest focused education for bedside clinicians in signs of clinical deterioration, and we also suggest that patient/family/care partners' concerns be included in decisions to obtain additional opinions and help (both conditional recommendations). We recommend hospital-wide deployment of a rapid response team or medical emergency team (RRT/MET) with explicit activation criteria (strong recommendation). We make no recommendation about RRT/MET professional composition or inclusion of palliative care members on the responding team but suggest that the skill set of responders should include eliciting patients' goals of care (conditional recommendation). Finally, quality improvement processes should be part of a rapid response system (GPS). CONCLUSIONS: The panel provided guidance to inform clinicians and administrators on effective processes to improve the care of patients at-risk for developing critical illness outside the ICU.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)307-313
Publication statusPublished - 1. Feb 2024


  • and Evaluation
  • clinical deterioration
  • Development
  • Grading of Recommendations Assessment
  • guidelines
  • medical emergency teams
  • rapid response system


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