Objectives and Background Sedation is a commonly performed procedure with a number of significant consequences should it go wrong. The Working Party chaired by Royal College of Anaesthetists, Canadian Consensus Guidelines and the American College of Emergency Physicians have all published guidelines detailing the minimum standards required for safe sedation. These cover the topics of patient assessment, general facilities, sedation procedure and post-sedation care. Our aims were twofold: to determine if sedation was being carried out safely and whether documentation was thorough.
Methods Thirty eight notes from August 2010 to February 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. These were identified by searching the department database for diagnoses of “dislocation” and “radial fracture”, then cross-referencing with patients who received midazolam (recorded in the controlled drugs register). Children were excluded. The data collected was compared against aforementioned published guidelines.
Results There was no recorded assistant in 25/38 (66%) of cases. Drug doses were not recorded in 14/38 (37%) and in 7/38 (18%) there was no prescription. Physiological monitoring was documented in only 11/38 (29%) of cases. Fasting status was recorded in 6/38 (16%) of cases. Of patients discharged home 24/38 (63%), there was no documentation of follow-up in 15/24 (62.5%). The notes were recorded by the following staff: junior 19/38 (50%), middle grade 11/38 (29%), Consultant 5/38 (13%) and other 3/38 (8%).
Conclusions Documentation is falling short of achieving the expected standards. Essential aspects of safe sedation are not being carried out. All ED doctors now have to attend a short workshop on safe sedation prior to carrying out any procedures requiring sedation. A sedation form is being introduced for recording and monitoring purposes. We have organised a re-audit starting in September to see if our changes have improved practice.
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