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In November last year the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) published yet another of its series of audits of hospital practice, this one focussing on the care of patients who died in hospital within 4 days of admission. Called ‘Caring to the end’ it will be of interest to readers of this journal and is worth reading.1
The audit's aim was to explore remediable factors in the process of care for patients who die in hospital. An expert group looked at the process of referral from admission until first seen by a consultant, handover, multidisciplinary team working, supervision, appropriateness of surgery and anaesthesia, general issues (including prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism) and access to investigations, paediatrics and palliative care in an acute setting. Only patients older than 28 days who died in hospital between October 2006 and March 2007 within 96 h of admission were included.
Three questionnaires were used to collect data: a clinical questionnaire per patient covering care during their admission; an anaesthetic questionnaire if they had had an anaesthetic and an organisational questionnaire on …
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