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Optimal head to toe assessment frequency in hospitalized pediatric patients is unknown. Although pediatric patients have many accommodations based on their age, developmental state, and varied needs, healthcare professionals have not published any research regarding the optimal frequency for registered nurses to perform head-to-toe assessments in hospitalized pediatric patients. Healthcare professionals must make decisions based on evidence-based practice. A change in pediatric assessment intervals was proposed at a Midwestern regional medical center. The purpose of this pilot study was to ensure patient safety and staff satisfaction following a policy change in head-to-toe assessment frequency Chart audits were performed on all patients upon discharge and after any status upgrade to ensure the decline in status was not related to the change in head-to-toe assessment frequency. A total of 421 patients were included in the study. Seventeen patients had a change in status; eleven patients were upgraded to an intermediate level of care and six were transferred to the intensive care unit. Both registered nurses and primary care providers responded that they were satisfied with the change in assessment frequency. All registered nurses reported they believed there was no increase in unplanned upgrades or transfers after the change. Following the pilot period, the unit policy was changed to reflect the new head-to-toe assessment interval. While our research has demonstrated safety in the policy change, additional studies are needed to assure safety in a wider variety of patients and settings.


Nursing | Pediatric Nursing