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Posted on 28 Feb 2019
Clinical/acute care

Adults, teens and children who carry an adrenaline autoinjector (or EpiPen®) should hold on to them in hospital in case they have a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction, known as anaphylaxis.

The reversal in hospital practice forms just part of new guidance for hospitals to better recognise, respond to and manage increasing numbers of patients with anaphylaxis.

"The number of people going to hospital with anaphylaxis grew by 75 per cent in the four years to 2016/17, and in looking at the stats, we noticed there was a big difference in how quickly patients were treated with adrenaline,” Safer Care Victoria CEO Euan Wallace said.

“Rapid treatment is the key to better patient outcomes, which is why we’ve released a suite of guidance to better identify, treat and manage patients with – or at risk of – anaphylaxis.

“Part of this is changing the common practice of taking autoinjectors from patients on admission. This is not necessary and is in fact much safer for patients to have access to quick treatment if they are having an unexpected reaction to food, medication, or other triggers.”

Safer Care Victoria’s new Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard guides hospitals on how to manage anaphylaxis in adults presenting to an emergency department, or who are experiencing anaphylaxis as an inpatient or outpatient in the health service.

Based on evidence and coronial findings, and developed with a panel of experts, clinicians and consumers, the new guidance comes with staff handouts, clinical management cards, checklist and patient/family handouts.

For more information, go to Improved management of anaphylaxis.

Page last updated: 28 Feb 2019