Emergency Drug Dose Calculator
This is an emergency drug calculator tool used by the South Thames Retrieval Service which moves critically ill children around the South Thames region. In addition to performing transfers of critically ill children, the STRS provides advice on the management of these children within the DGHs.
We are frequently asked for advice on the appropriate doses of medications and this drug calculator tool was developed as a resource for prescribers and those preparing/ administering medications.
It includes medications frequently used during the stabilization and transfer of critically ill children, including drugs for intubation, cardiovascular support and other commonly presenting conditions.
Quick and accurate calculation of emergency drug doses – saves time – reduces prescription errors
The tool calculates drug doses of frequently used emergency drugs when the patients weight is entered. It can be printed off and used as a quick reference guide for prescribing and administration. The tool was developed by consultants in Paediatric Intensive Care, paediatric cardiac anaesthetists at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and the South Thames Retrieval Service, and by our specialist pharmacists.
Our referring hospitals access it on our website. It is also available to buy as an app, so staff can have it in their pocket!
The tool is used multiple times per day within the retrieval service, and by our referring hospitals. When used by referring hospitals for preparing infusions, we can be confident that the infusion is correct and prepared in a familiar manner and easier for us to use.
Nurses find the tool very useful – they can check doses against the calculator on route and at the bedside. We’ve received feedback from the 24 DGHs served by the South Thames Retrieval Service, and individual user feedback via the website developer.
Our data shows 1000-2000 webpage views per month for the calculator site.
Challenges and Learning
Potentially other medicines could be added to the calculator, but at the moment, it focuses on those medicines which are most frequently used by our service.
The calculator does not abdicate the responsibility and accountability of the prescriber. The drug calculator tool is designed for use with children whose bodyweight is less than 50kg. Children with bodyweight greater than 50kg should use adult guidance for drug doses.
It is approved by our Trust Drugs and Therapeutics Committee and is regularly reviewed as required. It is available to access via our website, and to purchase as an App. The tool has been validated by our specialist pharmacists and the drug doses correspond with those in the Paediatric Formulary.
Project Lead: Sasha Herring, Retrieval Nurse Practitioner at STRS
Organisation: South Thames Retrieval Service