Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication, occurs when the body's response to infection causes inflammation to tissues and organs. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail. The risk of death increases up to 8% for each hour treatment is delayed. Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.
September is National Sepsis Awareness Month. Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH) will host an educational event Friday, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the hospital atrium. Information about sepsis prevention, giveaways, and light refreshments will be available.
“CHH has placed a strong focus on sepsis response and treatment with continual process improvement and tracking to provide quality outcomes in care,” said Teresa Sexton, director of nursing and senior services at CHH. “It is also important to share as much information as possible about this complication so that patients bring these symptoms to the attention of medical personnel quickly.”
CHH has a dedicated Sepsis Response Team to offer an even greater response time.
“We continually monitor the national best practice standards for sepsis and use benchmark indicators to push us to find new and better ways of providing the highest quality of care,” said T.J. Ritchie, RN, nurse manager of the intensive care unit at CHH. “The Sepsis Response Team provides faster response and treatment to sepsis alerts. And there are a multitude of others who contribute to sepsis care and treatment from the emergency room to the pharmacy. It’s a broad team approach to providing excellent care.”
Sepsis occurs in three stages, starting with sepsis and progressing through severe sepsis to septic shock. By using a team process, sepsis can be treated during its early stage before it becomes more dangerous.
“The team is made up of six nursing staff members who rotate an on-call schedule for sepsis alerts. When a sepsis alert page is sent, the nurse quickly responds and assesses the patient to provide immediate information to the attending physician,” Ritchie explained. “The physician begins treatment based on the individual patient’s needs. We continue to monitor outcomes and improve processes to treat sepsis earlier.”