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Responding To All Situations
by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James Stenberg - February 21, 2015

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Normally, a Rapid Response Team consists of health care providers trained in early resuscitation intervention and advanced life support who respond to hospitalized patients with early signs of clinical deterioration in non-intensive care units to prevent respiratory or cardiac arrest.

Naval Hospital Pensacola utilizes its Rapid Response Team to respond to any medical emergency that may occur at NHP.

Naval Hospital Pensacola Rapid Response Team members respond to a call on January 27, 2015. Since the conversion of the Emergency Room to an Urgent Care Clinic, the Rapid Response Team has been available to respond to any medical situation in the hospital in a hurry. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class James Stenberg)
Naval Hospital Pensacola Rapid Response Team members respond to a call on January 27, 2015. Since the conversion of the Emergency Room to an Urgent Care Clinic, the Rapid Response Team has been available to respond to any medical situation in the hospital in a hurry. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class James Stenberg)

“The team responds to any sort of acute emergency that might happen in the hospital,” said Lt. Amy Starling, division officer, Intensive Care Unit, NHP. “The purpose of our Rapid Response Team is to bring critical care expertise to the patient whenever or wherever it's needed.”

With the conversion last year of the Emergency Room at NHP to an Urgent Care Center, the priorities of NHP's Rapid Response Team have shifted to encompass new areas of responsibilities.

“Traditionally, the Rapid Response Team was an inpatient function,” said Starling. “If there was a patient admitted to one of the wards and the nursing staff felt the patient had a concerning change in their status during a regular assessment, they could call the Rapid Response Team to get extra eyes on the patient.

“When the Emergency Room [converted], we were faced with the situation of where to send a patient if they [needed immediate medical care]. The Rapid Response Team allows immediate triage and discharge of the patient. If a patient does have a life threatening issue, the Rapid Response Team can quickly assess and treat the patient.”

When the Rapid Response Team is called, three possible outcomes could occur. The team will both treat the patient and inform them to follow up with their provider, admit the patient and treat the patient at NHP or stabilize the patient before transporting the patient to another medical care facility.

The availability of NHP's Rapid Response Team to the entire hospital has had positive effects on the patients as well as the staff.

“I'm proud of the new initiative that expands rapid response to outpatient care,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gabrielle Crane, department head, 5 West Medical-Surgical Ward, NHP. “I think it encourages a lot of team work across the hospital and it's a great resource that anyone can call upon. It increases patient safety and encourages a culture of team work.”

The hospital conducts regular training to make sure all staff members are able to recognize the signs of patients in distress and how to properly call for the Rapid Response Team.

“One of the most meaningful stories since the implementation of the Rapid Response Team was a response from the General Surgery Clinic,” said Starling. “A patient was walking past the General Surgery Clinic with obvious facial drooping and slurred speech. A staff member immediately recognized the warning signs for a stroke, even though the patient had not and activated the Rapid Response Team. The team arrived and immediately got the patient [transferred] to a facility that specializes in stroke care.”

Due to the efforts and training of the Rapid Response Team, patients like this one and others are able to get the critical attention they need in a timely manner.

By U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James Stenberg
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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