Improving sepsis recognition through use of the Sepsis Trust's community screening tool
Sepsis is associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality. All healthcare professionals have a responsibility to ensure they have sufficient knowledge to effectively screen patients for signs and symptoms of sepsis. In the community setting, screening for sepsis can be challenging, due to the complexity within the patient population and difficulties associated with observation for changes in the patient's condition. The Sepsis Trust community nursing sepsis screening tool provides decision-making support to community healthcare professionals, enabling them to make a rapid assessment for risk factors for sepsis, ensuring a proportionate, consistent and appropriate response. Through implementation of a decision-support tool within the clinical setting, it is likely that patients at risk of sepsis will be identified earlier, and patients will be escalated in a more consistent manner. This process of improving consistency in practice can improve patient outcomes, including mortality, morbidity and overall patient experience.
Sepsis remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality across all high-, middle- and low-income countries despite increasing education for healthcare professionals and growing awareness from the public (Hantrakun et al, 2018; Jabaley et al, 2018; Dondorp et al, 2019; Rudd et al, 2020). Sepsis is defined as a dysregulated host response to an infection, which is mediated by the immune system, causing a physiological cascade that results in organ dysfunction, multi-organ failure and potential death (Singer et al, 2016; Feist, 2019; Kim and Park, 2019). Septic shock is a term that describes a later stage in this physiological cascade, whereby there is profound circulatory, cellular and metabolic abnormality, which is associated with increased subsequent mortality rates. Patients with sepsis often have acute and critical care needs and, therefore, require definite treatment and monitoring within the acute secondary care setting (Singer et al, 2016; Hunt, 2019; Lin, 2021).
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