Q What is the standard for frequency of measuring vital signs and performing physical assessments in critical care, progressive care, and telemetry units?

A Christine S. Schulman, RN, MS, CNS, CCRN, and LuAnn Staul, RN, MN, CNS, CCRN, reply:

The frequency of measuring vital signs and performing physical assessments should be based on each patient’s needs rather than on specific time intervals. Furthermore, given the variability among patients, units, and institutions, no national standard can be set. Standards should be established by each facility on the basis of their unique populations of patients and should be determined by the clinical “experts” for that facility such as clinical nurse specialists, nurse managers, and nurse educators in collaboration with the other members of the multidisciplinary team. Other experts could be colleagues from community facilities and members of the local American Association of Critical-Care Nurses chapter....

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