Patient safety in intensive care: results from the multinational Sentinel Events Evaluation (SEE) study

Valentin, Andreas; Capuzzo, Maurizia; Guidet, Bertrand; Moreno, Rui P.; Dolanski, Lorenz; Bauer, Peter; Metnitz, Philipp G. H.; Research Group on Quality Improvement of European Society of Intensive Care Medicine; Sentinel Events Evaluation Study Investigators
October 2006
Intensive Care Medicine;Oct2006, Vol. 32 Issue 10, p1591
Academic Journal
journal article
Objective: To assess on a multinational level the prevalence and corresponding factors of selected unintended events that compromise patient safety (sentinel events) in intensive care units (ICUs).Design: An observational, 24-h cross-sectional study of incidents in five representative categories.Setting: 205 ICUs worldwideMeasurements: Events were reported by intensive care unit staff members with the use of a structured questionnaire. Both ICU- and patient-related factors were assessed.Results: In 1,913 adult patients a total of 584 events affecting 391 patients were reported. During 24 h multiple errors related to medication occurred in 136 patients; unplanned dislodgement or inappropriate disconnection of lines, catheters, and drains in 158; equipment failure in 112; loss, obstruction or leakage of artificial airway in 47; and inappropriate turn-off of alarms in 17. Per 100 patient days, 38.8 (95% confidence interval 34.7-42.9) events were observed. In a multiple logistic regression with ICU as a random component, the following were associated with elevated odds for experiencing a sentinel event: any organ failure (odds ratio 1.13, 95% confidence interval 1.00-1.28), a higher intensity in level of care (odds ratio 1.62, 95% confidence interval 1.18-2.22), and time of exposure (odds ratio 1.06, 95% confidence interval 1.04-1.08).Conclusions: Sentinel events related to medication, indwelling lines, airway, and equipment failure in ICUs occur with considerable frequency. Although patient safety is recognised as a serious issue in many ICUs, there is an urgent need for development and implementation of strategies for prevention and early detection of errors.


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