The PEWS Score: Can an Algorithm Predict Worsening Illness in a Hospitalized Child?

By Jeff Russ, MD, PhD – Pediatric/Child Neurology Resident, UCSF

Dr. Jeff Russ

A major task of any pediatric ward provider is to regularly assess a patient’s appearance, vital signs, labs, and risk factors, and integrate these data into a cohesive clinical picture to determine the patient’s acuity and potential need for intervention. This can be especially challenging on busy services or night shifts, where, for example, nurses may divide their time among up to four patients, and a single physician may care for 10–20 patients. Particularly with children, a lot can change between sporadic assessments, making it difficult to triage acuity.

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