Online tool launched to help nurses diagnose child illness

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has developed an online diagnostic tool

A new paediatric diagnostic tool, which aims to reduce the UK’s 2,000 avoidable child deaths each year, has been launched to help nurses and other healthcare professionals. 

The online decision support tool, called Paediatric Care Online (PCO), was developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and other organisations, including the RCN. 

It is available to healthcare professionals, including nurses and GPs, and outlines red flag symptoms.

It then gives guidance on diagnoses, investigations and treatments.

RCN professional lead for children and young people’s nursing Fiona Smith, who was on the PCO steering group, said: ‘The tool is a one-stop shop. 

‘When you are busy, it’s not helpful trying to research a condition online when you can get 1,000 hits. 

‘The tool gives information that you need to know in a succinct format and the evidence is critically appraised.’

The aim is to ensure children are sent to the appropriate setting, such as a hospital or specialist service, before they become unwell. 

Ms Smith said: ‘Children deteriorate quickly but if treated appropriately, they can recover quickly. 

‘Children need nurses and other professionals to have acute observation skills because they cannot always articulate where the pain is or how they feel. 

‘It’s important that nurses and other healthcare professional listen to children’s parents and know the right questions to ask, and this tool will support them in this.’

The tool will be updated regularly, and nurses and healthcare professionals who are based in the UK can subscribe to it here

There is free open access to a key practice point on fever here.

For further information, click here.


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