How Henry Ford's ED nurses are boosting sepsis detection

 As the Biden administration calls on hospitals to do more to reduce sepsis deaths, Henry Ford Health in Jackson, Mich., has started involving its emergency department nurses more in detection practices, the American Medical Association reported Jan. 11.

Henry Ford clinicians recently presented their sepsis tactics in a CDC webinar series, which includes empowering nurses working in the ED to fast track the process of performing lactate tests. Too many lactates in the bloodstream can lead to sepsis and help be a way to detect the condition or patients who could develop it. 

At Henry Ford, nurses in the ED can advance order a lactate and send it up to the lab. If the patient's screening is greater than 2 millimoles per liter, the bedside nurse will huddle with the attending physician. 

Essential elements of successful sepsis protocols, according to Michael Fill, DO, an emergency physician with the health system, include: 

  • Making sure the processes integrate well within existing workflows.
  • Utilizing new technologies and tools to help. 
  • Standardizing specific hospital guidelines and protocols for identifying, treating and recovery of septic patients. 
  • Keeping necessary medications in stock to treat the conditions and ensuring mechanisms are in place to streamline treatment with antimicrobials. 
  • Implementing teams dedicated to "rapid-response" of sepsis patients.

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