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AIMing to save lives


This poster guides us through the process of understanding how the Acute Illness Management Course (AIM) originated and its effectiveness in enabling practitioners to provide quality care to acutely ill adult patients in noncritical care environments, thus reducing hospital standardised mortality rates (SMRs). Early detection of critical illness in patients on general wards and the initiation of appropriate care reduces mortality and length of stay in the hospital [1, 2]. However, there is evidence to suggest that basic management of patients considered acutely ill is often substandard [35]. These findings led to the Greater Manchester Critical Care Network undertaking a study aimed at identifying levels of knowledge regarding acute illness management. The outcome provided a case to support the development of the AIM, a 1-day programme for practitioners designed to equip them with a structured approach to the recognition, assessment and management of acutely ill adults.


A gap analysis determined deficits in acute illness knowledge. Following the introduction of the AIM, a precourse and postcourse questionnaire established whether attendance increased knowledge. A further study is presently trying to establish retention of knowledge at 3 months.


The gap analysis demonstrated a lack of knowledge in the care of acute illness, resulting in the AIM. The AIM was introduced in 2003. To date 6,200 multidisciplinary staff have been trained. The study in 2006 examined precourse and postcourse knowledge of acute illness. This study confirmed that practitioners who attended the AIM had improved knowledge. Data have shown a significant reduction in hospital SMRs across Manchester that correlates with the introduction of the AIM [6]. The present study is trying to establish a link between the reduction in SMRs and the implementation of AIM.


The introduction of the AIM has enriched the care of patients who are acutely ill. Manchester is 'AIMing' to save lives – the AIM is helping us do that.


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Berry, A., Stevens, A. AIMing to save lives. Crit Care 12 (Suppl 2), P426 (2008).

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