Interprofessional Collaboration to Improve Sepsis Care and Survival Within a Tertiary Care Emergency Department

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Abstract

Problem:

Sepsis is a leading cause of death in the United States; however, health care providers struggle with timely recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. Both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Quality Forum have identified this diagnosis as a priority. Presently, many patients with sepsis are identified late, resulting in significant morbidity and death.

Methods:

In this project, a collaborative, interprofessional approach was created for screening and early identification of ED patients with possible sepsis. The department has 38 beds with annual patient volumes of more than 40,000 visits. Education was provided about the symptoms and treatment of patients with sepsis. A screening and management algorithm tool was instituted that consisted of early identification triggers and how to intervene according to Surviving Sepsis Campaign recommendations. The tool allowed for assessment of the patient by the ED team; the team worked to determine if sepsis was present and the extent of the illness.

Results:

During the first 4 months after implementation, more than 240 patients were screened, assessed, and treated according to the algorithm. Project outcomes resulted in an increase in staff knowledge of sepsis, a decrease in length of stay by 3 hours, and a significant decrease in mortality when compared with the previous year’s coded data.

Implications for Practice:

This project demonstrates that sepsis education and team collaboration are an integral part of identifying and treating patients with sepsis. An interprofessional collaborative approach could be implemented in other institutions to combat the life-threatening complications of sepsis.

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