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National Early Warning Scores and COVID-19 deaths in care homes: an ecological time-series study.
Stow, Daniel; Barker, Robert O; Matthews, Fiona E; Hanratty, Barbara.
  • Stow D; Population and Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK daniel.stow@ncl.ac.uk.
  • Barker RO; Population and Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
  • Matthews FE; Population and Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
  • Hanratty B; Population and Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e045579, 2021 09 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406655
ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate whether National Early Warning Scores (NEWS/NEWS2) could contribute to COVID-19 surveillance in care homes.

SETTING:

460 care home units using the same software package to collect data on residents, from 46 local authority areas in England.

PARTICIPANTS:

6464 care home residents with at least one NEWS recording. EXPOSURE

MEASURE:

29 656 anonymised person-level NEWS from 29 December 2019 to 20 May 2020 with component physiological

measures:

systolic blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse rate, temperature and oxygen saturation. Baseline values for each measure calculated using 80th and 20th centile scores before March 2020. OUTCOME

MEASURE:

Cross-correlation comparison of time series with Office for National Statistics weekly reported registered deaths of care home residents where COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death, and all other deaths (excluding COVID-19) up to 10 May 2020.

RESULTS:

Deaths due to COVID-19 were registered from 23 March 2020 in the local authority areas represented in the study. Between 23 March 2020 and 10 May 2020, there were 5753 deaths (1532 involving COVID-19 and 4221 other causes). We observed a rise in the proportion of above-baseline NEWS beginning 16 March 2020, followed 2 weeks later by an increase in registered deaths (cross-correlation of r=0.82, p<0.05 for a 2 week lag) in corresponding local authorities. The proportion of above-baseline oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and temperature measurements also increased approximately 2 weeks before peaks in deaths.

CONCLUSIONS:

NEWS could contribute to COVID-19 disease surveillance in care homes during the pandemic. Oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and temperature could be prioritised as they appear to signal rise in mortality almost as well as NEWS. This study reinforces the need to collate data from care homes, to monitor and protect residents' health. Further work using individual level outcome data is needed to evaluate the role of NEWS in the early detection of resident illness.
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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: Early Warning Score / COVID-19 Type of study: Randomized controlled trials / Screening study Limits: Humans Country/Region as subject: Europa Language: English Journal: BMJ Open Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: Bmjopen-2020-045579

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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: Early Warning Score / COVID-19 Type of study: Randomized controlled trials / Screening study Limits: Humans Country/Region as subject: Europa Language: English Journal: BMJ Open Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: Bmjopen-2020-045579