AWARE® is a developmental programme for healthcare support staff to improve recognition and response to deteriorating patients. It responds to an increasing focus on the role of Healthcare Support Staff in development of competent performance.

Care provided to critically ill and deteriorating patients has a significant impact on patient mortality; morbidity and length of hospital stay (NICE 2007).  A report of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death, revealed that clinical signs of deterioration are often delayed, missed, misinterpreted or mismanaged (NCEPOD 2012). The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA, 2007), state that unregistered healthcare staff, such as health care assistants (HCA’s) are undertaking vital sign observations far more frequently having been delegated this task, receiving limited education to interpret and consider the results, and respond appropriately.

The AWARE® course was developed in 2009 by members of the nursing and midwifery education team at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust. 

Course structure
The AWARE® course is:

  • a clear framework of knowledge and skills to promote early identification of patient condition deteriorating
  • role-play clinical scenarios
  • group discussion
  • specific competency assessments to contribute to effective risk management.