Fluid input/output charts in hospital inpatients are a valuable source of information for doctors reviewing intravenous fluid prescription, but are notorious for being incomplete and inaccurate. Lack of awareness of the importance of fluid balance amongst nursing staff and an excess of unnecessary monitoring are two factors contributing to the problem. We conducted a quality improvement project on the respiratory ward in a large district general hospital aiming to specifically address these two factors. Pre-intervention audit showed that only 53% of input/output monitoring was clinically indicated, with an average chart completion of 50%. Using e-Learning and verbal presentation to raise awareness around fluid balance, we implemented a new system whereby daily medical review of charts lead to rationalisation of monitoring. Postintervention audit showed a 93% reduction in unnecessary monitoring, with corresponding increases in completion (40%) and accuracy (48%) of remaining charts. In conclusion, education has enabled a culture change on the ward that has drastically increased the quality of fluid balance monitoring.
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