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Improving Care of the Sepsis Patient

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Background: In 2004, Christiana Care Health System (Christiana Care), a 1,100-bed tertiary care facility, used the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines as the foundation for an independent initiative to reduce the mortality rate by at least 25%.

Methods: In 2004, an interdisciplinary sepsis team developed a process for rapidly recognizing at-risk patients; evaluating a patient's clinical status; and providing appropriate, timely therapy in three major areas of sepsis care; recognition of the sepsis patient, resuscitation priorities, and intensive care management. The Sepsis Alert program, which did not require additional staffing, was developed and implemented in 10 months. The Sepsis Alert packet included a care management guideline, a treatment algorithm, an emergency department treatment order set, and multiple adjuncts to streamline patient identification and management.

Results: Introduction of sepsis resuscitation and critical care management standards led to a 49.4% decrease in mortality rates (p < .0001), a 34.0% decrease in average length of hospital stay (p < .0002), and a 188.2% increase in the proportion of patients discharged to home (p < .0001) when the historic control group is compared with the postimplementation group from January 2005 through December 2007.

Discussion: An integrated leadership team, using existing resources, transformed frontline clinical practice by providers from multiple disciplines to reduce mortality in the population of patients with sepsis.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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