Observation and response charts

Monitoring and documenting physiological observations is a key component of recognition and response systems. An observation and response chart is a document that allows the recording of patient observations, and specifies the actions to be taken in response to deterioration from the norm. 

The purpose of these charts is to support accurate and timely recognition of clinical deterioration, and prompt action when deterioration is observed. The way in which observation charts are designed and used can contribute to both the poor recording of observations and failure to interpret them correctly.

The Commission has not revised the observation and response charts available on the website since their initial design and there is no current plan to update them. The National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for recognising and responding to acute physiological deterioration has been updated since the original design of the charts. When implementing observation and response charts in any organisation, the elements should align to the consensus statement.

Observation and response charts design and specifications

Observation and response charts should:

  • be designed according to human factors principles
  • have the capacity to record the core physiological observations specified in the National Consensus Statement
  • specify the physiological parameters and other factors that trigger an escalation of care
  • specify the actions required when care is escalated.

Examples of observation and response charts

Five track and trigger observation and response charts (ORCs) designed using human factors principles are available from the Commission.

For copies of the InDesign files, send a request via e-mail noting which chart you would like to Accreditation Support: support@accreditation.freshdesk.com

Customising and modifying observation and response charts