The NHS deals with over 150,000 cases of severe sepsis (sepsis with associated organ dysfunction) annually, and many more patients with sepsis (a systemic inflammatory response to an infection) which has yet to deteriorate to severe sepsis.
In hospitals and long term care facilities, it’s one of the most common causes of patient deterioration; and in the community it accounts for between 10 and 20% of adult medical emergencies. Though sepsis is common, it’s poorly addressed: but the good news is that urgent basic care can make a real difference between survival and death.
If your patient has a suspected infection, or if their physiology suggests something is going wrong, screen for sepsis- you’ll find a suggested screening tool here. Remember to listen to the patient and their relatives- whatever their observations and your tests say, phrases such as ‘I’ve never seen him this ill’ or ‘I feel like I’m going to die’ should never be ignored.
If sepsis is suspected, we recommend the simple package of care known as the Sepsis Six.
The Sepsis Six is a set of interventions which can be delivered by any junior healthcare professional working as part of a team. All you need to deliver the Sepsis Six is a patient with sepsis, a qualified prescriber, basic healthcare equipment and the will to make it happen!
Just by doing these six simple things in the first hour, you can double your patient’s chance of survival!
The Sepsis Six are:
1. Administer high flow oxygen.
2. Take blood cultures
3. Give broad spectrum antibiotics
4. Give intravenous fluid challenges
5. Measure serum lactate and haemoglobin
6. Measure accurate hourly urine output
Our educational resource, Survive Sepsis will explain why, and how we should perform each of these steps, and when to take extra care!