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Oxygen administration and monitoring for ward adult patients in a teaching hospital

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Abstract

Aim: The aims of this study were to describe oxygen administration and respiratory monitoring of ward patients in a tertiary teaching hospital, and to assess differences in characteristics and outcomes between patients who are receiving versus are not receiving oxygen.

Methods: Prospective clinical audit of all non‐ventilated adult ward patients in a tertiary teaching hospital in Melbourne, Victoria on 26 August 2009.

Results: All 323 eligible patients were audited (medical 218, surgical 105). At assessment, 76 patients (24%) were on oxygen therapy and of these, 57 patients (74%) received oxygen by nasal prongs. Overall, oxygen saturation was documented in 301 (93.2%) patients and respiratory rate (RR) documented in 283 patients (87.6%). Patients receiving oxygen had a lower median SpO2 (94% vs 96%, P < 0.0001), higher median RR (20/min vs 18/min, P < 0.0005); and were older (68.8 v 63.1 years, P= 0.0094). The in‐hospital mortality of patients receiving oxygen therapy was 15.8% compared with 5.3% for those not on oxygen (P < 0.0056).

Conclusion: Oxygen is administered to one‐quarter of ward patients in our hospital. Oxygen saturation and RR are not documented in approximately 10% of patients. Oxygen therapy in ward patients identifies individuals with increased mortality. Continuing educational interventions to increase awareness of the high‐risk status of these patients and strategies to detect patients at risk of hypoxaemia are needed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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