Nurses have tools to help prevent sepsis




September is National Sepsis Awareness Month, and several organizations are working to educate the public and healthcare professionals on how to prevent the condition by exploring the impact it has on Americans.

In late August the CDC launched Get Ahead of Sepsis, an educational campaign that emphasizes the importance of early recognition and timely treatment of sepsis, as well as the importance of preventing infections that could lead to sepsis, according to a news release.

Each year in the U.S., more than 1.5 million people develop sepsis, and at least 250,000 Americans die as a result, reportedly more than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer and stroke combined. Treating it cost $27 billion in 2014, or about $18,000 per case, according to a Bloomberg article.

“Healthcare professionals, patients and their family members can work as a team to prevent infections and be alert to the signs of sepsis,” Lauren Epstein, MD, medical officer in CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said in a news release. “Get Ahead of Sepsis encourages healthcare professionals and patients to talk about steps, such as taking good care of chronic conditions, which help prevent infections that could lead to sepsis.”

The CDC offers healthcare providers 5 steps to prevent sepsis

Prevent infections. Follow infection control requirements (e.g., hand hygiene) and ensure patients receive recommended vaccines (e.g., flu and pneumococcal).

Educate patients and their families. Stress the need to prevent infections, manage chronic conditions and seek care if signs of severe infection or sepsis are present.

Think sepsis. Know sepsis signs and symptoms to identify and treat patients early.

Act fast. If sepsis is suspected, order tests to determine if an infection is present, where it is and what caused it. Start antibiotics and other medical care immediately. Document antibiotic dose, duration and purpose.

Reassess patient management. Check patient progress frequently. Reassess antibiotic therapy 24 to 48 hours or sooner to change therapy, as needed. Be sure the antibiotic type, dose and duration are correct.

Sepsis prevention is needed worldwide

The World Health Organization is shining a spotlight on maternal and neonatal sepsis, specifically. According to a WHO news release, despite being highly preventable, maternal and neonatal sepsis is a major cause of death and morbidity for pregnant or recently pregnant women and newborn babies. Sepsis can be associated with up to 100,000 maternal deaths every year. Neonatal sepsis kills around 1 million newborn babies every year.

According to the WHO website, one of the greatest tragedies of the thousands of deaths caused by sepsis, is that they could have been easily prevented. However, access to clean water and sanitation; access to quality care during pregnancy and birth; responsible and timely access to the right medicines; and proper infection prevention and control in hospitals and clinics can help reduce the rate of maternal and neonatal sepsis deaths.

In addition, healthcare workers worldwide need to be adequately trained and skilled to be able to recognize the signs of sepsis and to treat the condition effectively.

Other organizations are joining the effort to reduce the number of sepsis deaths, including the Rory Staunton Foundation. According to a Forbes.com article, the Rory Staunton Foundation, which was founded by Ciaran and Orlaith Staunton are determined to see mandatory protocols for sepsis established throughout the country by 2020 via Rory’s Regulations. The foundation is named after the Stauntons’ 12-year-old son, Rory, who died of sepsis in 2012, after receiving a cut from a fall at school.

According to the article, Rory’s Regulations requires hospitals to:

1. Develop protocols for the screening and early recognition of patients with sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock

2. Develop a process to identify and document individuals appropriate for treatment through severe sepsis protocols

3. Create guidelines for treatment including for early delivery of antibiotics

Rory’s Regulations have been implemented in New York, and are now being implemented in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois, according to the Forbes article. “Since Rory’s death we have worked round the clock to raise awareness of this devastating killer and to improve procedures in pediatric emergency rooms to ensure that no other family suffers this devastating loss,” the Stauntons say on the foundation’s website. “Throughout our struggles we remember Rory as a child who fought for justice during his short beautiful life. We will continue his fight. Rory should not have died.”

Fast facts on sepsis from the CDC

* Sepsis begins outside of the hospital for nearly 80% of patients.

* A CDC evaluation found 7 in 10 patients with sepsis had recently used healthcare services or had chronic diseases requiring frequent medical care.

* Four types of infections are most often associated with sepsis: lung, urinary tract, skin and gut.

* Sepsis is deadly when it’s not quickly recognized and treated.

* CDC evaluation found more than 90% of adults and 70% of children who developed sepsis had a health condition that may have put them at risk.

* Sepsis occurs most often in people 65 years or older or younger than 1 year, with weakened immune systems, or with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes).

* While less common, even healthy infants, children and adults can develop sepsis from an infection, especially when not treated properly.

* Signs and symptoms of sepsis can include a combination of any of the following: Confusion or disorientation; shortness of breath; high heart rate; fever, shivering or feeling very cold; extreme pain or discomfort or clammy or sweaty skin

 


Courses Related to ‘Sepsis’

CE517: Sepsis
 (1 contact hr)

Sepsis is a complex condition that occurs as a result of the systemic manifestation of infection. Sepsis results from a complex chain of events that involves inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes; humoral and cellular reactions; and circulatory abnormalities, including vasodilation, hypotension, endothelial changes, and capillary leaks. Severe sepsis, which occurs when sepsis progresses to involve acute organ system dysfunction, contributes to increased severity of illness and length of stay, remaining a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Early detection and implementation of evidence-based guidelines are essential for patient survival. This course will increase healthcare professionals’ awareness about the incidence of sepsis, sites of infection, and treatments that can reduce mortality.

WEB336: Sepsis: SOFA, qSOFA, and Interprofessional Intervention (1 contact hr)
Sepsis is a complex and multifactorial condition that can progress quickly. Updated recommendations for managing sepsis have emerged to help the healthcare team more effectively treat and care for septic patients. However, tools and approaches are available to help prevent or halt the progression of sepsis as well in at-risk patients. This webinar discusses sepsis pathophysiology to patient presentation to healthcare team management approaches to help combat sepsis.


About the author
Sallie Jimenez

Sallie Jimenez 

Sallie Jimenez, who is Content Manager for Healthcare, develops and edits content for OnCourse Learning’s Nurse.com blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She also develops content for the OnCourse Learning/Nurse.com Digital Resource Guides. She has more than 22 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.

5 responses to “Nurses have tools to help prevent sepsis”

  1. In addition, it is important to observe for signs of sepsis in post op bowel resection patients. These patients are at risk, as a small leak can lead to sepsis & death. I had a friend who died in this manner , as no one was alert to the signs & symptoms that were present.

  2. How can I get a copy of this sepsis article? I am completing my DNP and this is what my project is on. I would love the up to date information. Thank you

  3. It’s best for the families of people who have a serious illness. The 5-step procedure is an excellent way to prevent Sepsis. It is a complicated disease and health care experts should deal with it the right way. Thanks for sharing the blog.

  4. Thanks so much for helping spread sepsis awareness. Since Sepsis Alliance declared September to be Sepsis Awareness Month back in 2011, it has evolved into a worldwide movement. This is so gratifying to see!

    We know that nurses are at the forefront of sepsis awareness and management (I’m a nurse myself), so anything that can help nurses learn more is a step forward.

    Thank you again

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