6 strategies to improve early sepsis recognition

Sepsis remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and it is widely accepted that early recognition of the condition can seriously improve patient survival. A recent forum article published in BMC Medicine discusses the importance of early sepsis recognition and some strategies to get there.

Sepsis is one of the most deadly emergency department arrival conditions, and initial sepsis care "remains uneven and often sluggish," according to the article. Because of this, "attention to the pre-hospital phase in patients with sepsis is clearly critical."

Below are six recommended strategies listed in the article to improve sepsis awareness in the pre-hospital setting:

1. Launch public awareness campaigns, like those for stroke or heart attacks, educating the public on when they should seek medical or emergency services.

2. Include an intensive sepsis element in the educational courses of emergency medical services providers and other pre-hospital practitioners.

3. Establish clear scenarios in which pre-hospital teams and providers in the community should start a formal sepsis screening. This screening would result in a clear decision of the presence or absence of sepsis.

4. Risk stratify patients for sepsis using clinical observations, and then alert the emergency department that will receive the septic patient.

5. Have the pre-hospital team start resuscitation within their capabilities.

6. Measure the management of sepsis pre-hospital in the same way as cases identified in the hospital environment.

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