Analysis

How to spot and diagnose serious infectious illness in children

Up to 80% of children present at hospital for conditions needing no treatment, making it harder for nurses to identify those who could become seriously ill

Up to 80% of children present at hospital for conditions needing no treatment, making it harder for nurses to identify those who could become seriously ill

  • Parents may see multiple healthcare professionals, making it harder to track the trajectory of a deteriorating child
  • A paediatric early warning score could help nurses assessing children to ensure that serious issues are not missed
  • Listening to parents is crucial to identifying seriously unwell children and it should be a red flag if they say a child is not right

Infections are responsible for one in five childhood deaths in England and Wales, and the UK has one of the highest childhood death rates in Europe.

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