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Can we improve the prescribing and delivery of oxygen on a respiratory ward in accordance with new British Thoracic Society oxygen guidelines?
  1. Aklak Choudhury,
  2. Gregor Young,
  3. Beshoy Reyad,
  4. Nirali Shah,
  5. Radhea Rahman
  1. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Queen’s Hospital, Romford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aklak Choudhury; aklak.choudhury1{at}


The British Thoracic Society recommends oxygen delivery to achieve target oxygen saturation range between 94% and 98% for medically unwell adult patients, and 88% to 92% in patients at risk of hypercapnic respiratory failure. Interviews with our medical and nursing staff suggested that oxygen was sometimes being given to patients without a valid order and there was a failure to titrate oxygen to the stated oxygen saturation range. Our aim was to improve appropriate oxygen delivery to 90% of our patients on a 30-bedded respiratory ward within 3 months. We identified several key steps to safe oxygen delivery on our ward. These include the recording of target oxygen saturation range, the prescribing of an oxygen order on drug chart and the correct bedside delivery of oxygen to the patient. To help improve compliance of these key steps, the following plan-do-study-act (PDSA) interventions were undertaken: (1) Educational announcements at board rounds. (2) A communication oxygen poster. (3) Highlighting improvement progress to teams via email. (4) Pharmacist review of inpatient drug chart. (5) Display of target oxygen saturation range at patient bedside. At baseline, only 50% of drug charts had a recorded oxygen order and 60% of drug charts had a set target oxygen saturation range. Following PDSA interventions, both measures improved to 93%. Our main outcome measure of appropriate oxygen delivery to the patient improved from a baseline of 20% to 80% on completion. Our quality improvement programme has shown simple interventions can improve oxygen prescribing and appropriate delivery of oxygen to the patient. The most effective PDSA interventions were sharing our measurements via email and displaying target oxygen saturation ranges by the patient bedside. We aim to provide future oxygen educational sessions at induction to our staff and scale our quality improvement programme to other wards including our acute medical unit.

  • quality improvement
  • control charts/run charts
  • patient safety

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  • Contributors RR proposed the idea. AC and GY drafted the manuscript. All authors made critical revisions and approved the final manuscript. All authors contributed to the design and implementation of the proposal. GY, RR, BR and NS performed the data collection. All authors analysed the data. AC acted as mentor for the quality improvement programme.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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