Most patients and their families have never heard of sepsis, a condition that kills more people every year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and AIDS combined. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection injures its own tissues. The results can be devastating: death, cognitive damage, and deterioration in physical functioning.
In recent years, health-care providers have become increasingly familiar with the seriousness of sepsis. As sepsis rates continue to rise, health-care facilities have started seeking new ways to detect the condition early and to respond rapidly to prevent more serious conditions such as severe sepsis and septic shock. Studies show that when health-care providers promptly recognize sepsis and treat it by immediately administering antibiotics and fluids, sepsis survivorship increases by 50%. Although sepsis most often occurs in the elderly, the young, and those with chronic diseases such as cancer or liver disease, sepsis can affect perfectly healthy people of all ages. Every year, in fact, more than 1.6 million Americans develop sepsis during hospitalization, and nearly a quarter-million of those die from sepsis-related complications. A majority of sepsis survivors who are discharged are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of leaving.
Because of the prevalence, seriousness, and treatability of sepsis, UNC Hospitals has launched a Sepsis initiative that aims to implement reliable screening for early detection of sepsis, educate multidisciplinary teams in evidence-based therapies, and standardize tools and treatment bundles for our specific patient populations.
The primary outcome measure for this initiative is a goal decrease in raw mortality of 10% by June 2016 when compared to a baseline rate from 2013. The important information gathered throughout this site helps our health-care providers better understand sepsis, the current progress of the initiative, and access to the tools and training materials that are being tested or implemented as part of the initiative.
Who does sepsis strike?
Treating the septic patient is a race against time. With each passing hour, the untreated sepsis patient’s mortality rate rises by more than 7%.
Although sepsis can occur in healthy children, high-risk patients include:
- Bone Marrow Transplant
- Solid Organ Transplant
- Central Line/PICC/Port
- Other Immunocompromise
- Complex Urogenital Anatomy/Repair
- Asplenia (including Sickle Cell Disease)
- Chronic Steroid Dependence (asthma, autoimmune disease)
- Severe Neurologic Impairment or technology dependence
The following sepsis information and videos may be useful resources as you educate and train staff on how to identify Sepsis cases:
- Surviving Sepsis Campaign
- Surviving Sepsis Campaign-screening tools from other organizations
- Sepsis Alliance videos
- Children's Hospital Oakland
- New South Wales Sepsis Toolkit
- Children's Hospital Association Sepsis Collaborative
- Society of Critical Care Medicine updated sepsis definitions - February 2016
- Clarifying information for recent sepsis changes
Adult Sepsis Toolkit
Measurements are being conducted and will be updated on this page as tools become available. The items below are working drafts currently undergoing pilot testing:
Adult Screening Tools
- General Sepsis Training
- ED Training Abbreviated
- ED Training Full
- Blood Culture Collection Training for all patient ages
- Adult ED Nursing and Provider Badge Cards
- Code Sepsis Downloadable Logo
- Weekly Safety Huddle Topic
- Sepsis Core Measure Requirement Summary
- MEWS Presentation for Nursing Groups
- MEWS Scoring Algorithm and Clinical Response
- Why use the MEWS?
- MEWS Tipsheet
- Pediatric Sepsis Bundle
- UNCMC Pediatric ED Response Plan
- Pediatric Sepsis Education Poster
- Inpatient Pediatric Pocket Card
- Finalized Sepsis Bundle-ED and Inpatient
- Peds Sepsis Alert Criteria PILOT
Sepsis in the News
Coverage of sepsis has picked up in the media as the public has become more aware of the dangers of sepsis and health-care facilities have begun to implement measures to combat sepsis. Below you'll find news coverage of sepsis.
WRAL - Teen lucky to be alive after oral surgery results in sepsis - UNC Drs. Ben Haithcock and Tina Schade Willis featured for their work saving Burlington teen
Children's Hospital Association - How to Stop Sepsis Through Training by Tina Schade Willis, MD, UNC School of Medicine, UNC Children's, UNC Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement
Huffington Post - Patty Duke's Death Announcement Is A Milestone For Sepsis Awareness
CNN - What killed Patty Duke?
Slate - A Silent Killer
Does a patient have to score a 5+ on the MEWS sheet for you to call a rapid response?
NO! You can always call the rapid response team when worried about a patient. The MEWS score is a tool to help identify patients in distress but should never replace nurse’s intuition. Relying on a MEWS score may provide additional evidence in cases where care teams are unsure of whether or not to call the rapid response team, but always remember CALL EARLY AND CALL OFTEN.
Who should I contact if I have questions about the sepsis program?
If you have any questions about the sepsis program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are the Code Sepsis contacts across the UNC Health Care system?
- Marla Tallentemail@example.com
- Sarah Bakerfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Chasity Mitchellemail@example.com
- Chatham: Keith Stinsonfirstname.lastname@example.org
- High Point: Patrick Oemail@example.com
- Lenoir: Teresa Sumnerfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Ryan Griffinemail@example.com
- Amy Winhamfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Mary Kay Bakeremail@example.com
- Amy Winham (ED Liaison)--firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pardee: Shaun Claytonemail@example.com
- REX: Bernadette Purserfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Jennifer Chaney--Jennifer.email@example.com
- Amy Piercefirstname.lastname@example.org
- UNC Health Care:
- Kara Shore (Project Manager, IT)--email@example.com
- Matt Huemmer (Project Manager, Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement)--firstname.lastname@example.org
- UNC Medical Center: Karen Guptonemail@example.com