Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard

This clinical care standard aims to improve the recognition of anaphylaxis, and the provision of appropriate treatment and follow-up care.

Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard

Anaphylaxis is a severe form of allergic reaction that is potentially life-threatening, especially if not treated immediately. It is characterised by a sudden onset; however, the clinical presentation is variable. The diagnosis of anaphylaxis is based on clinical findings and takes the patient’s history and physical examination into consideration.

The Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard contains six quality statements and a set of indicators to improve the recognition, treatment and follow-up of anaphylaxis in acute care. The standard will help to ensure that Australians receive prompt treatment to manage severe allergic reactions, and that there is continuity of patient care across healthcare settings.

2021
Publication, report or update

National launch webcast

The Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard was launched on 24 November 2021. Watch the launch recording to see experts in paramedicine, emergency medicine, allergy and general practice discuss and explain the new standard.

The Commission has a suite of promotional resources to assist with implementation of the national Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard. 

Contents of the standard and resources

The Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard contains:

The clinical care standard includes guidance for consumers, clinicians, and health service organisations including information about what each statement means, factsheets and additional resources such as the Anaphylaxis discharge checklist and discussion guide and waiting room poster.

Consultation and endorsement

The standard was developed in consultation with a topic working group of clinicians, researchers and consumers. Public consultation on the clinical care standard was carried out between October and December 2020. 

The standard is endorsed by a number of key organisations, including the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA), and the National Allergy Strategy (NAS).

Evidence base

Key sources that underpin the Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard are:

  • Current clinical guidelines from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), including Acute Management of Anaphylaxis (2021)
  • The Safer Care Victoria standard, Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard (2019).

Background

Over four million Australians live with allergies. Food allergy, for example, occurs in around 10% of infants, 4-8% of children, and 2% of adults in Australia.

While not everyone with an allergy is at risk, recent studies show increasing incidence of all-cause anaphylaxis in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. In Australia, in the five years to 2019-20

  • Anaphylaxis presentations to emergency departments in public hospitals grew by 51% - to more than 11,594 in 2019-20.
  • Anaphylaxis hospital admissions increased by 35% - from 9,042 in 2015-16 to 12,179 in 2019-20.

Despite well-recognised guidelines, care is not always provided as recommended. In a study in eight Australian emergency departments, 27% of reactions consistent with anaphylaxis were not given adrenaline. Analysis of fatalities recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics between 1997-2013 highlighted gaps between guideline recommendations and patient care, such as delayed treatment with adrenaline.

Infographics and other communication resources

This infographic outlines key data highlights on anaphylaxis in Australia, to support the release of the new standard. You can find more communication resources on our Anaphylaxis Campaign web page.