Preventing Code Blues at Botsford Hospital

Botsford Rapid Assessment Team

The Botsford Rapid Assessment Team, or BRAT, springs into action the instant subtle signs of decline are noticed in a patient. Their goal: Quickly assess and intervene to prevent a code blue, sepsis and even death.

You’ve probably seen TV shows where someone is in the hospital and he “codes.”  Doctors and nurses come running and try to save the patient — sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

“Code Blues,” as they’re called, happen in real life too.  A code blue is a term used by hospital staff to alert rescue personnel that a patient’s heart has stopped.  Only in real life, doctors and nurses at Botsford Hospital are trained to prevent a code blue in the first place, greatly increasing a person’s chances of survival.

How is a code blue prevented?

Doctors and nurses are trained to recognize even the most subtle signs of decline in a patient.  The earlier a decline can be recognized, the sooner intervention can be made and the more likely a patient can avoid more serious outcomes such as a code blue or organ failure.  If something looks amiss, a highly specialized team of critical care-trained nurses and respiratory therapists are called to assess the patient.

Enter the BRAT (Botsford Rapid Assessment Team)

Within minutes, the team arrives with advanced critical care equipment and is able to determine whether intervention is necessary.  The patient’s doctor is summoned when appropriate and the entire team takes steps to prevent further decline such as a code blue.

What does it mean to have the BRAT?

Having the rapid assessment team available at all times means every bed in Botsford Hospital can be quickly turned into a critical care bed as soon as the need arises.  More importantly, patients may avoid the need for critical care in the first place.

For at least one Botsford patient, it also meant a second chance at life — both in and out of the hospital.  “God sent an angel,” he wrote in a thank you card to the team after he was was discharged.  He explained that not only did the team save his life, but the fact that they cared so much and tried so hard to save him gave him the drive to get better.  In his case, his nurses and the BRAT caught him in the first of three phases of sepsis, aggressively treated him and prevented him from entering more dangerous stages of sepsis, where the survival rate drops to only 10%.

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