It is expected that for most patients, most of the time, the lay descriptors (see image below) will be sufficient to assign an accurate level of care.

Lay Descriptors

If the lay descriptors are insufficient, the nurse completing the acuity audit can refer to the clinical descriptors (see image below) to assign the level of care.

Clinical Descriptors

If the clinical descriptors are also insufficient, the nurse can then refer to the nursing themes descriptors:

  • Assessment and observation
  • Respiration
  • Personal care, nutrition and hydration
  • Cognition and communication
  • Medication

It is possible for patients to have needs in different levels of care in the nursing themes descriptors. All descriptors are provided as a guide and ultimately the nurse completing the score will need to aggregate the information and make a reasonable professional judgement regarding the level of care that best describes the patient. During an admission, the patient's level of care will change and score will need to be reviewed regularly.