Audit & Research
Audit is a process where we compare our day-to-day work against known information or standards, obtain information about how our performance compares, make changes to our work policies or procedures and then re-compare our performance at a later date to see how we are doing. Audits are usually done across the whole PICU, are anonymised and they do not test untried medicines, devices or procedures, therefore they usually do not require Consent to take part (see below).
Glasgow's PICU takes part in a regular, daily audit programme called PICANet which compares our performance and practice with that of 32 other PICUs across the UK and Ireland. It also provides a useful overview of the patterns and severity of critical illness among the children of the UK and Ireland. PICANet also conducts yearly surveys of parent and child satisfaction with PICU. PICANet produces a full report and a Scottish report every two years. You can download the latest report here.
We also take part in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, which aims to reduce adverses events like hospital-acquired infections in Intensive Care Patients. The results of this audit are displayed on the noticeboard beside the main entrance to PICU.
In addition to these national audits, we have many small internal Quality Improvement projects going on at any one time to try and improve particular aspects of our practice. If you have an idea for such a project based upon your experience in PICU then we would be happy to hear from you.
Our major long-term internal audit project at the moment is our Quality Dashboard. This is looking at the patterns of certain common complications associated with PICU (we call these complications "morbidities"). It has been in progress since 2014 and we are now entering the second phase of the project where we are testing ways of reducing some of these morbidities.
Research is a process where we identify and define a problem (known as a "hypothesis") and then we use an appropriate strategy to find out more information and gather new, previously unknown knowledge about that hypothesis.
In the grand schemes of the NHS and global medicine, Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine is quite a small, specialised field that treats small numbers of very unwell children with complicated and varied diseases. This makes it very challenging to do big, powerful research studies into the diseases we treat, the medicines and machines that we use to treat them, and potential new diseases and complications.
Because of this we rely heavily on what is known as "multicentre" or collaborative audit and research, where a large number of PICUs work together on studies to get a sufficiently powerful large number of patients. PICU is currently involved in several such projects, and you can read details about some of them here. If the PICU team think your child's condition is appropriate for him or her to be included in one of these studies then one of the doctors or the Research Nurse will approach you with some information to read about the study, then give you time to think of any questions that you might want to ask.
We are extremely grateful for your participation as doing so will help future generations of critically ill children. If you are happy for your child to take part, then we will ask you (and your child, if they are capable) to give permission before we do anything further. We call this process "Consent". You are not obliged to Consent to take part, and after giving Consent you are free to change your mind and withdraw Consent at any time.