Celebrating Sepsis Awareness

The event in the Children’s Lobby this week featured games, educational materials, simulations and recognition for the countless individuals that have made UNC Medical Center’s efforts to stop sepsis such a success.

Celebrating Sepsis Awareness click to enlarge The event included several hands-on educational activities.

Sepsis is the leading cause of death in US hospitals, the leading cost associated with hospitalization and the leading cause of readmission. Over the past several years, UNC Medical Center has worked to improve mortality through its Code Sepsis early recognition and treatment program and other hospital-wide efforts to decrease infections and prevent sepsis.

To celebrate the hard work of staff throughout the medical center and raise further awareness about sepsis and how to spot it, the Performance Improvement and Patient Safety team (PIPS) hosted the Sepsis Awareness Day event in the Children’s Hospital lobby on Sept. 26.

“In just the last year we have seen a 10 percent improvement in our hospital mortality rate, and that kind of improvement wouldn’t be possible without multiple improvement efforts from teams across the hospital,” said Tina Schade Willis, MD, director of the UNC Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement. “Sepsis Day gives us the opportunity to recognize some of the work that goes on around the hospital, raising awareness about sepsis and treating it quickly when it appears.”

Attractions for the event were arrayed across the lobby and included informational displays, trivia games and even a raffle. A recognition presentation began around lunchtime and included words of thanks from William Roper, MD, MPH, dean of the UNC School of Medicine and CEO of UNC Health Care.

“Our approach to sepsis is another example of what we as an institution can do if we put our mind to it and focus attention on an important matter. What we have come to realize is what a large impact sepsis has on our patients, their course of illness and death. Sepsis is a really big deal, but thanks to the important work of the teams here, we have had a major impact of lessening the burden of sepsis on the patients that we serve, their families and the institution as a whole,” he said.

Hillary Spangler, MD, a resident at UNC and a sepsis survivor, provided words of appreciation to the NC Children’s Hospital, which saved her life when she was 10 years old. The NC Children’s Hospital was also the original pilot site for the Code Sepsis program. 

Spangler then described a patient screening and education program she had helped to develop aimed at making sure that everyone from front desk staff to the families of patients are equipped with the knowledge they need to help stop sepsis. For her efforts to fight sepsis, Spangler was recognized in 2016 as a Sepsis Hero by the Sepsis Alliance.

After the brief speaking program, teams from across the hospital were recognized for the work they have done in fighting sepsis. These groups included:

  • Medical Emergency Services Department
  • Adult Rapid Response Team
  • Pediatric Rapid Response Team
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Inpatient Care Units
  • Pharmacy
  • Marketing and Communications – sepsis survivors series as example
  • Communications/Operators Team/ISD/Epic Teams
  • Phlebotomy/Laboratory
  • Nursing Education

“Our success in fighting sepsis is a testament to the contributions made by individuals and teams across the medical center,” said Schade Willis. “We are glad to be able to celebrate them today, and, with their help, are looking forward to even greater success in the future.”