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The AMBER care bundle provides a systematic approach to manage the care of hospital patients who are facing an uncertain recovery and who are at risk of dying in the next one to two months. It is an intervention that can fit within any care pathway or diagnostic group for patients whose recovery is uncertain.

It does not change a patient's treatment or care - it helps staff to realise when they should talk with the patients about what treatment and care they would prefer should the worst happen.

It is a simple tool which combines identification questions, four clinical interventions and systematic monitoring that can be applied in adult ward settings.

As of July 2013, the AMBER care bundle is being implemented or piloted in 30 hospitals across England.

Amber diagram

Why is it called the AMBER care bundle?

The term 'AMBER' is used to reflect the need for close attention to be given to a person who staff are particularly worried about. It stands for:

  • Assessment  
  • Management 
  • Best practice 
  • Engagement 
  • Recovery uncertain

The benefits of the AMBER care bundle

Evidence suggests the AMBER care bundle results in:

  • patients being treated with greater dignity and respect
  • greater clarity around patients' preferences and plans about how these can be met
  • improved decision making
  • a positive impact on multi-professional team communication and working
  • increased nurses’ confidence about when to approach medical colleagues to discuss treatment plans
  • lower emergency readmission rates  

Any member of the clinical multi-disciplinary team can identify patients suitable for the AMBER care bundle.

Where it was developed

The AMBER care bundle was developed at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. It was part of a programme funded by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to improve the quality of care of patients who are at risk of dying in the next one to two months but may still be receiving active treatment.

Find out more

For more information, see how teams use the AMBER care bundle.

©Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
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