Are early warning scores too early for paramedic practice?

The use of early warning scores (EWS) is now widespread in medical practice. Typically, EWS are used in inpatient settings to identify patients who require additional intervention to avoid unexpected intensive care admission or death. Prehospital care involves the rapid identification of critical illness but also undifferentiated urgent care. This large range of variation in acuity means EWS systems must be particularly accommodating. This article explores the use of scoring systems in paramedic practice and argues the need for more research, especially in non-trauma based tools.

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