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Shift to Safety. Your source for patient safety​Recognizing Deteriorating Patient Condition – what providers need to know!

As a healthcare provider, it's important to recognize and respond effectively to the "Early Warning Signs" of clinical deterioration. It's important as well to recognize the valuable role family members play in the recognition of clinical deterioration.

Empower yourself, your patients and their family, with the following information and resources. They will both help you recognize the signs of deteriorating patient condition, and communicate openly and effectively with your patients.

Early warning signs of deteriorating condition are often unrecognized, leading to devastating results. Research shows that virtually all critical inpatient events are preceded by warning signs that occur approximately six-and-a-half hours in advance. The most comprehensive approach to successfully managing deteriorating patient condition should include patients and their family as members of the healthcare team. It consists of:

  1. The recognition of deteriorating condition (early warning systems)
  2. Timely and appropriate response (escalation measures)

All of the Deteriorating Patient Condition Resources are divided into the following categories. Don't forget to share them with your colleagues and patients.

SHIFT to Safety helps you put the spotlight on patient safety. Shift your focus to what you do best—care for patients.

Are you a patient or a leader? Please share these resources with your providers! We also offer Deteriorating Patient Condition resources specific to the public and leaders.

All of these tools, resources and information was assembled/curated by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute in partnership with the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada and Patients for Patient Safety Canada.

For more information, contact us at