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Cold Debriefing

Cold debriefings provide the opportunity to review the resuscitation event after a period of time (typically within a month) when all the information (e.g. ZOLL data, medical record information) are available.

The Cold Debriefing uses the opportunity of a regularly scheduled program or conference time to provide feedback for any multidisciplinary providers, even if they did not participate in the resuscitation being reviewed. Scheduled bi-weekly or monthly and led by an experienced facilitator (any discipline), a Cold Debrief can include:

  • Audio-video review

  • Patient history and diagnosis

  • Quantitative review of CPR Quality (CC and hemodynamic data, ETCO2, as available)

  • Latent and obvious errors

  • Examples of excellence

  • Clinical issues

  • System issues

  • Team performance

The Cold Debrief is a necessary and integral part of the QI process that gives a wide variety of disciplines from the unit the opportunity for to talk through elements of a cardiac arrest event and process both successes as well as areas for improvement.


Dr. Heather Wolfe explains implementation of this part of the QI Bundle and how to use the concept of the Key Driver Diagram to help your institution facilitate Cold Debriefings successfully. 

Each site is free to use their own customized Cold Debrief form, yet each should contain the following Common Core Elements:

  • Number & role (MD, PA, NP, RN, RT, etc.) of those present at debrief

  • Summary of events leading up to event

  • CPR & physiologic data review -- review of potential improvements when identified

  • What went went during this event?

  • What could be improved in this patient's care

The following customized forms have been made available for reference and use thanks to our pediRES-Q collaborators.

Cold Debriefing Forms

DISCLAIMER: Please be respectful of intellectual property; these are the proprietary documents of their respective institutions.

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