According to the Australian commission on safety and quality in healthcare, the “Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care” standard aims to improve the recognition of anaphylaxis, and the provision of appropriate treatment and follow-up care”.
What we need to know:
Anaphylaxis is a severe form of allergic reaction that is potentially life-threatening, especially if not treated immediately. It is characterised by a sudden onset; however, the clinical presentation is variable. The diagnosis of anaphylaxis is based on clinical findings and takes the patient’s history and physical examination into consideration.
The Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard contains six quality statements and a set of indicators to improve the recognition, treatment and follow-up of anaphylaxis in acute care. The standard will help to ensure that Australians receive prompt treatment to manage severe allergic reactions, and that there is continuity of patient care across healthcare settings.
Over four million Australians live with allergies. Food allergy, for example, occurs in around 10% of infants, 4-8% of children, and 2% of adults in Australia.
While not everyone with an allergy is at risk, recent studies show increasing incidence of all-cause anaphylaxis in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In Australia, in the five years to 2019-20 Anaphylaxis presentations to emergency departments in public hospitals grew by 51% – to more than 11,594 in 2019-20.
Anaphylaxis hospital admissions increased by 35% – from 9,042 in 2015-16 to 12,179 in 2019-20.
Despite well-recognised guidelines, care is not always provided as recommended. In a study in eight Australian emergency departments, 27% of reactions consistent with anaphylaxis were not given adrenaline.
Analysis of fatalities recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics between 1997-2013 highlighted gaps between guideline recommendations and patient care, such as delayed treatment with adrenaline.
Key sources that underpin the Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard are:
Current clinical guidelines from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), including Acute Management of Anaphylaxis (2021)
The Safer Care Victoria standard, Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard (2019).