Frontline nurses

Early Recognition of Meningitis and Septicaemia; Vital signs for frontline nurses.

Early Recognition of Meningitis and Septicaemia; Vital signs for frontline nurses

Endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing and the Irish Nurses Organisation.

This resource is based on findings from a national study of Health Care Delivery and Outcome in Children with Meningococcal Disease, funded by Meningitis Research Foundation.

The study evaluated the treatment of every child under 17 years old who died of meningococcal disease in England, Wales and Northern Ireland over a 15 month period, along with information about the treatment of survivors as controls.

The research examined all stages in the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, including initial assessment of patients by triage nurses and nurses on the wards. It aimed to determine critical stages which could change the course of the illness and save the life of a child. The study highlighted the need for a resource focusing on the measurement of vital signs to detect the underlying symptoms of meningococcal disease, and bacterial sepsis and meningitis in general.

After initial consultation with senior nurses, the resource was developed by Linda Bailey, the research nurse on the study, and Dr Nelly Ninis the clinical research fellow, in collaboration with the Foundation.

It was designed as a handy card to fit inside the uniform pocket. A pilot version was produced and presented with the research results at several A&E and paediatric nursing meetings and sent out for further expert medical review. It was also sent to approximately 1000 nurses across the UK and Ireland, along with a questionnaire. The pilot was rated very highly and generated useful feedback that we have incorporated into the final version.

Now produced as a laminated card, which for ease of use measures just 5 by 3 inches, the resource was launched at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) A&E Association's 30th Annual Conference and at the headquarters of the Irish Nurses Organisation in Dublin.

Dr Beverly Malone, General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing commented:

"The Royal College of Nursing is pleased to endorse the Foundation's resource for frontline nurses. Early recognition of meningitis and septicaemia is vital in ensuring appropriate treatment in order to save lives and reduce morbidity. We hope that this new resource will aid frontline nurses in their work."

At the Dublin launch, Liam Doran, General Secretary of the Irish Nurses Organisation said:

The Irish Nurses' Organisation logo

"This is an excellent card and I would like to see it readily available in all A&E departments and other assessment and admitting areas. On behalf of the Irish Nurses Organisation, I am happy to endorse Meningitis Research Foundation's resource for frontline nurses. We hope that this new resource will make a difference to practice, helping nurses to recognise these life-threatening diseases and improving prospects for recovery of patients affected."

Early recognition of Meningitis and Septicaemia: Vital signs for front line Nurses is available free of charge by contacting your local Foundation office or by using our online ordering facility for this and other Foundation resources.

It is also provided here in UK and Ireland versions as four page Adobe Acrobat documents to facilitate its use as a training resource.

You may also be interested in viewing the Foundation's resource for community nurses.