One hospital's journey to create a sustainable sepsis program

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THE SEPSIS PROGRAM at Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Tex., was created in 2008 due to increasing numbers of patients with sepsis. In 2011, the sepsis program was expanded and a sepsis coordinator position was added. For the first time, a full-time medical-surgical educator would spend part of his or her time managing the sepsis program for the facility.
In 2011, the CDC reported a dramatic increase in hospital admissions for patients with sepsis from 621,000 in 2000 to 1,141,000 in 2008.1 The sepsis program evolved along with this increased incidence: The sepsis coordinator role was added to monitor patients throughout the hospital who were potentially septic. One of the physicians representing the ICU recognized an ongoing concern about admissions and transfers of patients with sepsis and suggested the facility implement a sepsis program. This physician championed the effort to begin a monitoring and management program.
The sepsis surveillance nurse's role, added after the program began to grow, is to assist in patient-tracking efforts alongside the sepsis coordinator for patients age 18 or older with severe sepsis (SS) and septic shock (SSH). Currently, the program is run by two full-time nurses in multidisciplinary collaboration with nursing, medicine, the respiratory department, the lab, the administration, and the public.

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