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Fluid resuscitation in critically ill patients—timing and dose matters

Intensive Care Unit, Rotorua Hospital, New Zealand


Fluid management is a complex subject in healthcare, particularly when pertaining to critically ill patients. Following a literature search on international recommendations regarding fluid administration for shocked patients, an audit was undertaken at Rotorua Public Hospital, New Zealand, to assess how the local fluid resuscitation strategy could be improved. The first part of the audit looked at the fluid resuscitation approach used to treat shocked patients admitted to the ICU of Rotorua Hospital in 2014 and changes required to achieve best practice recommendations. The second part tested the success and impact of the subsequently implemented, more measured approach to fluid resuscitation in 2016. Data was extracted from patient files, fluid charts and electronic records to assess fluid administration and de-escalation measures. The collated information was analysed and compared to recommendations found in the literature. The complete audit cycle revealed not only a significant improvement in adherence to best practice guidelines, but also an association with better patient outcomes.

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