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The FOBS study aims to develop an evidence-based protocol for how frequently observations should be made that will be both safe and achievable across all acute NHS hospitals

The FOBS (Frequency of Observations) project is an NIHR HS&DR funded research collaboration project between the Universities of Portsmouth, Southampton, and Oxford with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Taking measurements of heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and other “vital signs” is an important part of care for nearly all patients in hospital. Staff and patients often refer to this as taking observations. Changes in observations are used to track recovery and can show when someone’s condition is getting worse and needs urgent attention. When changes are spotted early, medical staff can often prevent serious deterioration, provide early treatment and avoid serious consequences including death. However, taking observations can be burdensome to patients, interfering with rest and sleep, which are also important to recovery. Frequent observations also cause more work for nursing staff. At the moment, there is little evidence to guide hospital staff on how frequently to take observations. Therefore, it is important to find out how often patients need to be monitored.

This study aims to address this by developing an evidence-based protocol for how frequently observations should be made that will be both safe and achievable across all acute NHS hospitals.

For this project we need to use personal details to help us link information that comes from different areas of the hospital. We hold special research approval for this from the NHS Health Research Authority’s Confidentiality Advisory Group (ref: 19/CAG/0132).

For more information about this project, please visit the FOBS project website or the ISRCTN website.