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Nursing Times awards shortlist George Eliot Hospital SEPSIS improvements


A project at George Eliot Hospital to improve recognition and early treatment of patients with Sepsis has been 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.

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.

 Barry said: “By introducing sepsis awareness and treatment training 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’ve also introduced a new sepsis treatment box on every ward that includes all the equipment and information a member of clinical staff needs to promptly treat a patient identified as having sepsis.

“I am very proud of the way the staff at the George Eliot have implemented the recommendations. It demonstrates how the George Eliot Hospital remains focussed on quality and safety for our patients.”

 Although anybody can develop sepsis from a minor infection, some people are more vulnerable, such as those:

  • with a medical condition or receiving medical treatment that weakens their immune system
  • who are already in hospital with a serious illness
  • who are very young or very old
  • who have just had surgery or who have wounds or injuries as a result of an accident


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.



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