Patient acuity refers to the severity of an illness or medical condition. It is often used to designate which clients should be seen first. For example, a high-acuity patient is one who is severely ill and should receive care before others.
However, there is no standard definition of what qualifies a patient for low or high acuity, and designations are often determined by hospitals or health systems.
Some elements that factor into a patient’s acuity level include:
- Oxygen levels
- Blood pressure
- Overall stability
In general, the more monitoring a patient requires, the higher their acuity.