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Provider: Deteriorating Patient Condition 

Recognizing deteriorating patient condition – what providers need to know 

As a healthcare provider, it's important to recognize and respond effectively to the early warning signs of clinical deterioration and the valuable role family members play in the recognition of clinical deterioration. 

The following information and resources will help you, your patients and their families to recognize the signs of deteriorating patient condition, and to communicate openly and effectively. 

Early warning signs of deteriorating condition are often unrecognized, leading to devastating results. Research shows that virtually all critical inpatient events are preceded by warning signs that occur approximately six-and-a-half hours in advance. The most comprehensive approach to successfully managing deteriorating patient condition should include patients and their families as members of the healthcare team. It consists of: 

  1. The recognition of deteriorating condition (early warning systems). 
  2. Timely and appropriate response (escalation measures). 

All of the Deteriorating Patient Condition Resources are divided into the following categories. Share them with your colleagues and patients. 

Family members 

Paediatric setting 

Obstetrical setting 

General care setting 

Are you a patient or a leader? Please share these resources with your providers! We also offer Deteriorating Patient Condition resources specific to the public and leaders. 



All of these tools, resources and information were assembled and curated by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (now HEC) in partnership with the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada and Patients for Patient Safety Canada. 

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