Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Editorials

Care bundles

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 01 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:0802051
  1. Katie Rebecca Adair, fifth year medical student1,
  2. Andrew F B Kernohan, locum consultant physician in acute medicine, diabetes, and endocrinology2
  1. 1Centre for Diabetes and Metabolism, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow
  2. 2Glasgow University

Katie Adair and Andrew Kernohan make the case for a new way to improve standards of care

As healthcare professionals we are united by our desire to help people who are ill. This desire, however, does not necessarily translate into consistent provision of the best care for all patients. Standards of best care are defined by clinical guidelines; and there is a move towards routine audit of outcomes and processes with reference to these standards. Care bundles were developed to reduce variability in care by improving the consistency with which best practice is applied.1

A “care bundle” is a collection of interventions (usually three to five) that may be applied to the management of a particular condition. It is distinct in several ways from just any checklist about patients' care. The elements in a bundle are best practices based on evidence, and all clinicians should know them. In routine clinical practice, these elements may not always all be done in the same way, making patient care vary. So a bundle aims to tie them together into a cohesive …

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