January 1, 2019
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Confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in 2018 reached 90 by the end of October, according to the CDC. While the CDC has yet to confirm what is causing AFM, experts strongly suspect that the disease stems from common viral infections. Still, it is not yet clear why just a small number of patients go on to experience paralysis in one or more limbs, a characteristic disease feature.
To address the patient safety risks associated with provider handoffs, Seattle Children’s Hospital designed a new staffing model that is built around waterfall-style shifts, in which a new attending physician arrives every three to five hours. The approach has significantly reduced the number of handoffs that occur without increasing attending physician hours. Further, it has won the approval of both providers and charge nurses.
Given the high prevalence of undiagnosed hypertension, investigators are looking at how emergency providers can play a role in identifying and intervening with patients who present to the ED with high blood pressure readings. The idea is to catch the condition at an earlier stage so that patients do not end up returning to the ED with strokes, heart attacks, and other serious cardiovascular consequences from uncontrolled hypertension.