Proposed colour banded early warning observation charts for South Africa
Health care worker inability to recognise critically sick patients based on standard vital observations or to act upon abnormal observations is a South African phenomenon and at present poorly understood.
Practices elsewhere in the world have shown that although health professionals are poor to comply with risk scoring systems, colour banded observation charts are more likely to result in prompt action.
The national committee for confidential enquiries into maternal deaths (NCCEMD) recommends the implementation of a colour banded observation chart to assist in improving earlier appropriate action in women with emerging adverse clinical events.
Introduction of a colour banded observation chart should be combined with a clear communication strategy. The process should be used to change the organisational culture to be more proactive in initiating early intervention to reduce the burden of unintended complications.
Keywords: Observation chart; Physiology; Colour code