Sepsis Awareness Aims to Save Lives

sepsis infection bacteria

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming response to infection. It is life-threatening, and can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. However, sepsis is preventable and treatable in most cases using existing protocols. Arm yourself and your students with what you need to know to deal with this condition.

Sepsis is the:

  • Number one cause of death in hospitals
  • Leading cause of hospital readmissions
  • Single biggest cost to hospitals — $24 billion a year
  • Most costly inpatient discharge to Medicare, at $6 billion in 2015

Sepsis Awareness

Some good news about sepsis:

  • 58 percent of Americans recognize the word “sepsis”
  • While there is no simple test or cure, sepsis is preventable and treatable. Early recognition is key.
  • As awareness of this condition grows, more hospitals are putting sepsis protocols into practice.
  • At Keiser Permanente, to cite one example, an early-detection program was initiated, and reduced sepsis deaths by nearly 40 percent.

Some bad news about sepsis:

  • 258,000 people die of sepsis in the United States each year (8 million world-wide).
  • 39 percent of Americans believe sepsis is contagious. It’s not.
  • Fewer than 1 percent of Americans know the symptoms of sepsis. In contrast, 72 percent of Americans know symptoms of stroke.

Risk Factors for Sepsis

Age: Very young patients and very old patients are at highest risk of developing sepsis.

Illness: People who are already very sick or immunocompromised, or have serious wounds or burns have elevated risk.

Devices: Patients with invasive devices, such as catheters and breathing tubes, commonly develop sepsis.

Sepsis awareness: Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of sepsis are key to survival. Especially if a patient has elevated risk, and presents with any combination of these symptoms, be sure to think of sepsis.

Nurses and other healthcare workers can prevent sepsis by practicing proper hygiene, changing dressings and central lines correctly, and wearing personal protection and gloves when treating patients with infections. While sepsis is not contagious, the infections that can lead down the path to it are. Protect your students, yourself, and your patients.

Sources:
Sepsis Alliance
Healthcare Dive, Sepsis costs Medicare $6B, topping all other inpatient discharges
Healthcare Business Tech, Preventing Sepsis: How hospitals can get a handle on this deadly condition
CDC Launches Surviving Sepsis Campaign

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