Background Sepsis is a life-threatening condition arising when the body’s response to infection causes organ damage. Sepsis affects approximately 250,000 people in the UK every year, claiming 48,000 lives (Daniels, Nutbeam (eds.) The sepsis manual. UK Sepsis Trust. 6th ed., 2022). People living with a terminal diagnosis are at increased risk of sepsis developing (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Sepsis: recognition, diagnosis and early management. [NG.51], updated 2017). Equipping staff with the knowledge, skills, and tools to screen for sepsis is essential to ensure prompt recognition and treatment of a potentially reversible illness, rather than mistaking this as expected deterioration at end of life or assuming it is untreatable, ensuring that patients have more quality time with the people who are important to them right up to the end of their life.
Aim To develop a sepsis screening tool and training package for use by community staff who provide care for people at the end of life in their own home to enable prompt recognition and escalation for treatment of sepsis, taking into consideration advance care plans and discussion with patient and those important to them.
Method June 2022: Review of UK Sepsis Trust Sepsis Screening Tools (UK Sepsis Trust. Sepsis screening tool telephone triage. 2022). July – October: Development of Community Sepsis tool for end-of-life care, internal consultation. October – January 2023: Development of sepsis training package, internal review. February 2023: Launch of tool and training to healthcare staff in two pilot areas.
Results Tool launched February 2023. Preliminary feedback from staff positive, training evaluations show training takes 60 minutes to complete, easy to follow informative training package.
Conclusion Preliminary feedback justifies the development of a sepsis screening tool to support recognition of the signs of sepsis and prompt escalation for treatment by staff caring for patients at the end of life that considers advance care plans, wishes of the patient and those important to them. Work in progress to complete post implementation evaluation, roll out of tool to all community services and develop a sepsis screening tool for hospices.
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