Vital signs monitoring is a universal tool for the detection of complications after surgery, but unwell patients can be missed between traditional observation rounds. This can lead to delayed treatment and worse patient outcomes.

Until now, continuous patient monitoring has been limited to intensive care units but new remote monitoring devices can be used on general hospital wards. The SensiumVitals® monitoring patch is worn on the patient’s chest and monitors their pulse, breathing and temperature every two minutes. It alerts the patient’s nurse if these vital signs become abnormal.  This could benefit patient care through earlier detection of deterioration. 

This project tested the SensiumVitals® monitoring patch on two general surgery wards at the Trust. Patients were offered either standard vital signs monitoring or a combination of standard monitoring and the SensiumVitals® patch, depending on their hospital bay. To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the device, patients were monitored and information collected on any complications they experienced.  Patients were also asked how they felt about monitoring in hospital.

The study involved 350 patients, and 140 wore the patch. Patched patients tended towards a shorter stay in hospital, were less likely to be readmitted, and tended to receive antibiotics faster when they got an infection.

Patients liked the idea of the monitoring patch, particularly overnight so that they wouldn’t be woken. However, patients appreciate face-to-face monitoring as it gives them reassurance, social interaction, and an opportunity to ask questions about their care.

Initial challenges with the new technology were addressed by high nursing staff engagement and a constructive relationship with Sensium. Results are promising and will be used to design a formal trial of the two types of monitoring.

Contact

For further information about the project, please email Miss Candice Downey, Clinical Research Fellow, University of Leeds.

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