Identifying early signs of deterioration

It is important to have a record of what the person you are caring for is like when well - this is known as their baseline reading.

National Early Warning Score (NEWS) is used by all health professionals to work out how unwell a person is. 

Always make sure you have measured the below parameters when the person you look after is well so that you can see the difference in their current state using their baseline reading.

 To use this tool you will need to be able to measure:

  • Temperature – have a thermometer available 
  • Oxygen levels - consider buying oximeter
  • Blood pressure - consider BP monitor 

Purchasing equipment – there are various medical equipment suppliers available online but it may be difficult to access sites at present due to excess demand. 

If you don’t have any equipment then record:

  • Does skin feel hot, cold or normal – touch the back or chest
  • Count the number of breaths taken per minute
  • Check the pulse rate – number of beats per minute if you are able

Any change in mental state scores 3 on NEWS is a cause for alarm, therefore these changes need to be highlighted.

Further information you will need to record

Try to always have SBARD and use it to help you decide when to call 999; this helps ensure that emergency services are able to process the information you give them appropriately and with the right level of response.  

  • Ensure you have easy access to the list of medicines the person is taking.  
  • Ensure you know all the health problems the person has. 
  • Does the person you care for, have a hospital passport or health profile?
    • If yes make sure it is up to date and relevant. 
    • If no then support the person to complete one.