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Implementation of the National Early Warning Score in UK care homes: a qualitative evaluation

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of General Practice
Issue number700
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)e793-e800
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/10/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


BACKGROUND: The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) is a tool for identifying and responding to acute illness. When used in care homes, staff measure residents' vital signs and record them on a tablet computer, which calculates a NEWS to share with health services. This article outlines an evaluation of NEWS implementation in care homes across one clinical commissioning group area in northern England.

AIM: To identify challenges to implementation of NEWS in care homes.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with 15 staff members from six care homes, five health professionals, and one clinical commissioning group employee.

METHOD: Interviews were intended to capture people's attitudes and experiences of using the intervention. Following an inductive thematic analysis, data were considered deductively against normalisation process theory constructs to identify the challenges and successes of implementing NEWS in care homes.

RESULTS: Care home staff and other stakeholders acknowledged that NEWS could enhance the response to acute illness, improve communication with the NHS, and increase the confidence of care home staff. However, the implementation did not account for the complexity of either the intervention or the care home setting. Challenges to engagement included competing priorities, insufficient training, and shortcomings in communication.

CONCLUSION: This evaluation highlights the need to involve care home staff and the primary care services that support them when developing and implementing interventions in care homes. The appropriateness and value of NEWS in non-acute settings requires ongoing monitoring.

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© British Journal of General Practice 2020.