Cumbria Crack

North Cumbria Hospitals Trust raising awareness on World Sepsis Day

Sepsis stand at the Cumberland Infirmary

North Cumbria’s hospitals are continuing in their fight against sepsis on World Sepsis Day which takes place today (Wednesday 13 September).

Stacey Wilson and Donna Lewthwaite, Sepsis specialist nurses at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) have been working at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, focusing on the screening and treatment of sepsis patients as well as providing education and training to staff.

Stacey and Donna have been out and about at the Trust’s two hospitals this week to spread the sepsis awareness message to staff, patients and visitors and are in the main atrium at the Cumberland Infirmary today.

The Trust is also using technology to alert staff to patients with possible Sepsis. The implementation of ‘e-observations’ (e-obs) is helping by allowing doctors, critical care nurses and sepsis nurses to see a patient’s observations without attending the ward and to give advice and support earlier to prevent further deterioration. The A&E departments are using their electronic system to ‘flag’ patients who may have sepsis in order to alert the doctors to give an early review so that treatment can be started if required.

In addition, NCUH is the first trust in the North East & Cumbria region to implement a new tool called ‘NEWS2’ which is used to recognise if a patient is deteriorating (including sepsis). The tool was designed by the Royal College of Physicians.

Sepsis is a life threatening emergency that is caused by the body’s response to an infection that becomes systemic, injuring its own tissues and organs. If not recognised early and treated promptly, sepsis can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and even death. In cases of severe sepsis, every hour that treatment is delayed the chance of death increases.

Every year there are around 150,000 cases of sepsis, resulting in 44,000 deaths which is more than deaths from bowel, prostate and breast cancer combined.

Stacey Wilson, specialist sepsis nurse at NCUH, said: “Sepsis is a serious and complicated condition which requires prompt treatment. We’re here to ensure all staff at the Trust to ‘think sepsis’ when dealing with an ill patient and we’re out to promote World Sepsis Day today”.

Dr Jon Sturman, consultant anaesthetist and Trust-lead on sepsis, added: “As a Trust we are making huge efforts to improve the recognition and lifesaving management of sepsis patients. This includes investing in staff training, monitoring, improved communication and team working, early lifesaving treatments and provision of intensive care expertise where life support is needed. All of these components will improve sepsis outcomes. We are beginning to see improvements using this approach and that is to the credit of all front line staff”.

Clive Graham, consultant microbiologist and Trust lead on infection prevention, said: “We want the public as well as staff to be aware of sepsis. Everyone needs to know the signs and symptoms which are:

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine (in a day)
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you’re going to die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

“If in doubt, seek medical attention as soon as possible”.

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