Local hospitals to mark World Sepsis Day

On Thursday 13 September, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) will mark World Sepsis Day.

Sepsis is a serious complication which can occur as a result of an infection and can often be difficult to detect. Without quick treatment, the illness can lead to the failure of major organs. In the UK it is estimated that around 44,000 patients pass away each year from sepsis, making it one of the most common causes of death in the country.

Throughout the past two years, DBTH has been working hard to improve its response to sepsis, ensuring that staff are alert to the symptoms of the illness, which is absolutely crucial to ensure prompt treatment and secure a better outcome.

Since the implementation of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines in 2016 to combat sepsis, the Trust has developed and expanded its own protocols in order to improve care, with specific guidance now covering adults, pregnant women, and children across its three hospital sites. Over the coming weeks, this will also be complimented by an additional policy called the ‘National Early Warning Score’ (NEWS) as well as the ‘Sepsis Care Pathway’.

NEWS is a way for nurses and doctors to determine the degree of illness based upon their vital signs. Used in combination with the Sepsis Care Pathway, staff are able to escalate patients for further testing and treatment, potentially catching illnesses such as sepsis before they have time to take hold.

The Trust is also improving its approach to education and promotion regarding the illness. This includes launching a staff newsletter called ‘Sharing How We Care’ which focuses on a number of topics each month, with an emphasis on sepsis in the next edition, while a quiz has also been developed for all clinicians to complete. This short exam tests the knowledge of the team, with the results used to identify areas where more work needs to be done to increase awareness, education and, ultimately, response.

As with all hospitals, things don’t always go to plan and it is important that any lessons for improvement are learned. Lee Cutler, Nursing Consultant for Critical Care and Sepsis Lead at the Trust, said: “Sepsis is the number one cause of preventable death world-wide. As an organisation its essential that we do all we can to develop and enhance the care we provide, ensuring that we are sepsis-aware and do all can to detect this illness as soon as possible.

“While further improvements can still be made, the Trust is dedicated to cultivating its approach to sepsis – investigating what has gone wrong in the past and implementing actions to ensure lessons are learned and our patients receive the highest quality care possible.”

The Trust measures safety indicators each month. While rates and response to sepsis can be hard to quantify, since 2013 DBTH has substantial improved its Hospital Standarised Mortality Ratio from a high of 111 to just 87.42 in March of this year, significantly lower than the expected level of 100. This is a good indicator of safety, evidencing that care and treatment is improving within the local hospitals.