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George Eliot Hospital supports national campaign to raise awareness of Sepsis in young children


George Eliot Hospital is supporting a nationwide campaign to help parents spot the symptoms of sepsis to protect young children and saves lives launched this week by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The campaign is principally aimed at parents and carers of young children aged 0-4 and will include a new film featuring mother and campaigner Melissa Mead, who lost her baby son William to sepsis in December 2014.

George Eliot Hospital work hard to improve the recognition and early treatment of patients with Sepsis and were recently shortlisted for a national award.

The work which has brought many improvements for patients and improved mortality statistics has been shortlisted by the Nursing Timing Awards in the Emergency and Critical Care category.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the body overreacting to an infection. The body’s immune system goes into overdrive, setting off a series of reactions that can lead to widespread inflammation and blood clotting.

The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that there are more than 120,000 cases of sepsis and around 37,000 deaths each year in England.

Dedicated specialist SEPSIS Nurse, Barry O’Keeffe submitted his entry ‘Improving sepsis care within a district general hospital’ last month to share improvements in knowledge, recognition and treatment of sepsis at the George Eliot. He demonstrated how using a mixture of education and clinical support within A&E and acute wards had helped front line staff recognise and treat sepsis. Sepsis guidelines and special sepsis boxes have been used to assist staff deal with this medical condition quickly and safely.

The project has seen a reduction in Sepsis Mortality rates and improved recognition of Sepsis by clinicians. The Trust has achieved 90% compliance by the Commission for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) for the screening of potential sepsis patients and achieved 90% compliance with antibiotics provided to patients screened as high risk.

Barry has introduced a screening pathway designed by UK Sepsis Trust, and implemented a system called the Sepsis six bundle of care recommended by the Global Sepsis Alliance. This includes providing IV antibiotics, high flow oxygen, IV fluid challenge, taking blood cultures and lactate level and hourly monitoring of urine. This method helps to identify and manage the risk posed to patients by sepsis.

Matron (Intensive Treatment Unit and Patient Safety), Alison Bakewell said: “By introducing sepsis awareness and treatment training at George Eliot Hospital we have managed to improve the way we treat sepsis and introduced a pathway for staff to use to identify and treat patients with sepsis using best practice.

“We totally support this new campaign because anybody can develop sepsis, but young children aged 0-4 are an at risk group.”

Sepsis is often difficult to diagnose as their initial symptoms can be vague. At George Eliot patients are identified as being high risk through their MEWS (Modified Early Warning Score). This is a simple guide used by clinical staff to quickly determine the degree of illness of a patient. It is based on data derived from blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature readings and level of consciousness.

Public Health England advice that if a child has any of these symptoms, immediate action should be taken:

o   Looks mottled, bluish or pale

o   Is very lethargic or difficult to wake

o   Feels abnormally cold to touch

o   Is breathing very fast

o   Has a rash that does not fade when you press it

o   Has a fit or convulsion

Acting quickly can save a child’s life 

If a child has any of these symptoms, don’t be afraid to go to A&E immediately or call 999

The UK Sepsis Trust estimate that around 37,000 deaths each year are associated with the condition, but around 10,000 could be avoided through prevention or early accurate diagnosis and effective treatment

For more information visit nhs.uk/sepsis or www.sepsistrust.org

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