The rapid response system: an integrative review

John Rihari-Thomas, Michelle DiGiacomo, Phillip Newton, David Sibbritt, Patricia M. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical deterioration and adverse events in hospitals is an increasing cause for concern. Rapid response systems have been widely implemented to identify deteriorating patients. Aim: We aimed to examine the literature highlighting major historical trends leading to the widespread adoption of rapid response systems, focussing on Australian issues and identifying future focus areas. Method: Integrative literature review including published and grey literature. Results: Seventy-eight sources including journal articles and Australian government matierlas resulted. Pertinent themes were the increasing acuity and aging of the population, importance of hospital cultures, the emerging role of the consumer, and proliferation, evolution and standardisation of rapid response systems. Discussion: Translating evidence to usual care practice is challenging and strongly driven by local factors and political imperatives. Conclusion: Rapid response systems are complex interventions requiring consideration of contextual factors at all levels. Appropriate resources, a skilled workforce and positive workplace cultures are needed for these systems to reach their full potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Nurse
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2019


  • clinical deterioration
  • emergency
  • emergency treatment
  • hospital rapid response team

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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