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HLTH6098 Recognising and Prioritising Care of the Deteriorating Adult Patient

Module Overview

This module is concerned with recognition and prioritisation of care for the adult patiet whom is at risk of deteriorating. As well as exploring issues relating to the assessment and interventions required for the critically unwell adult, the module will encourage and enable you to take a ‘wider view’ of the care of the patient who is at risk of deterioration in the clinical environment.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To develop their knowledge and skills in relation to the identification, assessment, and management of the acutely unwell adult patient who is at risk of deterioration or critical illness. By the end of the module you will be able to identify a development, improvement or change in practice which may improve the care given to patients who are at risk of deterioration within their own practice setting.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and critically consider a range of pathophysiological factors which place the acutely unwell adult at risk of deterioration / critical illness
  • Critically evaluate the evidence which underpins the assessment, planning, delivery and evaluation of nursing care to the deteriorating adult patient.
  • Identify and critically consider influences on clinical decision making in relation to the deteriorating adult patient.
  • Utilise knowledge gained in the module to make recommendations which may improve the care delivered to patients at risk of deterioration / critical illness in your own clinical area.
  • Understand the implications of legal, ethical and/or professional issues in practice which influence the care of the deteriorating adult and their family
  • Appropriate early assessment and early interventions for the deteriorating patient.
  • Plan, deliver and evaluate interventions for the patient at risk of critical illness
  • Demonstrate the following practice competencies
  • Identifying the 'at risk' patient
  • Detailed and systematic patient assessment.


A range of subjects are taught within the module relating to the learning outcomes. • Context of care and the ‘at risk’ patient • Physiology update • ABCDE - Assessment & Intervention • Common patient presentations and management • Clinical decision making • Interpreting results of common investigations • Evidence based practice applied to care of the deteriorating adult patient • Patient management plans • Root cause analysis • Organisational aspects on acuity • Intra-hospital and inter-hospital patient transfer • Assertiveness • Communication • Ethics • End-of-life decision making • Case study – simulated practice • Study skills and seminars regarding student learning contracts • Tutorial time • Module evaluation The module aims, learning outcomes and syllabus are underpinned by a range of current and seminal natiional and international research and evidence including: • Barbetti, J.; Lee G. (2008) Medical emergency team: a review of the literature. Nursing in Critical Care. 13 (2) 80-85 • Department of Health, (2000) Comprehensive Critical Care: A Review of Adult Critical Care Services. London: DOH • Department of Health (2001) The nursing contribution to the provision of comprehensive critical care for adults: a strategic programme of action. London: Department of Health. • Massey, D.; Aitken, L.; Chaboyer, W. (2010) Literature review: do rapid response systems reduce the incidence of major adverse events in the deteriorating ward patient? Journal of Clinical Nursing 19 (23-24) 3260-73 • Naeem, N., Montenegro, H. (2005) Beyond the intensive care unit: A review of interventions aimed at anticipating and preventing in-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest. Resuscitation. 67 (1) 13-23 • National Confidential Enquiry Into Patient Outcome And Death (2005) An acute problem? London: NCEPOD • National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2007) Acutely ill patients in hospital: Recognition of and response to acute illness in adults in hospital London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Learning and Teaching

Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Wider reading or practice50
Completion of assessment task100
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Peate, I.; Dutton, H. (2012). Acute nursing care : recognising and responding to medical emergencies. 

Tait, D. (2012). Acute and critical care in adult nursing. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment %
Competencies 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

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