Experiences of current vital signs monitoring practices and views of wearable monitoring: A qualitative study in patients and nurses
Areia C., King E., Ede J., Young L., Tarassenko L., Watkinson P., Vollam S.
Aims: To understand current experiences of vital signs monitoring of patients and clinical staff on a surgical ward, and views on the introduction of wearable ambulatory monitoring into the general ward environment. Design: Qualitative study. Methods: Semi-structured interviews using topic guides were conducted with 15 patients and 15 nurses on a surgical ward between July 2018 and August 2019. The concept of ambulatory wearable devices for clinical monitoring was introduced at the end of the interview. Results: Three interconnected themes were identified. Vital sign data as evidence for escalation, examined nurses' use of data to support escalation of care and the implications for patients perceived to be deteriorating who have not reached the threshold for escalation. The second theme, Trustworthiness of vital sign data, described nurses’ practice of using manual measurements to recheck or confirm automated vital signs readings when concerned. The final theme, finding a balance between continuous and intermittent monitoring, both patients and nurses agreed that although continuous monitoring may improve safety and reassurance, these needed to be balanced with multiple limitations. Factors to be considered included noise pollution, comfort, and impact on patient mobility and independence. Introduction of the concept of ambulatory wearable devices was viewed positively by both groups as offering solutions to some of the issues identified with traditional monitoring. However, most agreed that this would not be suitable for all patients and should not replace direct nurse/patient contact. Conclusion: Both patients and staff identified the benefits of continuous monitoring to improve patient safety but, due to limitations, use should be carefully considered and patient-centred. Impact: Feedback from nurses and patients suggests there is scope for ambulatory monitoring systems to be integrated into the hospital environment; however, both groups emphasized these should not add more noise to the ward nor replace direct nursing contact.