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Critical Care Outreach

The role of critical care outreach is primarily to ensure that critically ill patients, or those at risk of becoming so, receive appropriate and timely treatment in the most suitable location within the hospital environment.
There are a number of different models and titles for Critical Care Outreach including Patient At Risk Team (PART); MET team; Outreach combined with Resuscitation services, to name a few. But generally the underlying objectives are similar:

  • to avert admissions to ICU by identifying patients who are deteriorating and either helping to prevent admission or ensuring that admission to a critical care bed happens in a timely manner to ensure best outcome;
  • to enable discharges from ICU by supporting the continuing recovery of discharged patients, relatives and friends on general ward areas and
  • to share critical care skills with staff on wards, ensuring enhancement of training opportunities and skills practice.

Critical care outreach services have been established in many acute trusts in the UK since the concept was first recommended in the Department of Health document ‘Comprehensive Critical Care: A review of the Adult Critical Care Services’ (DH 2000). The concept of an outreach team was first developed in New South Wales, Australia in1990, with the development of the Medical Emergency Team. The MET team replaced the traditional cardiac arrest team by adopting a more proactive approach and the development of a scoring system to identify those patients at risk of impending illness with the aim of early intervention as an attempt to improve outcome.