Nurses box clever to save lives

Thursday September 22, 2016

Nurses at Western Sussex Hospitals are introducing a new life-saving equipment kit to make sure patients with sepsis get the rapid treatment they need.

Western Sussex Hospitals Outreach Sisters Carol Stevens-Newsom (left) and Sarah Dearling (right) with one of the new sepsis boxes
Outreach Sisters Carol Stevens-Newsom (left) and Sarah Dearling (right) with one of the new sepsis boxes

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. Without prompt treatment, it can cause multiple organ failure and death. Around 37,000 people in the UK currently die from sepsis every year.

However, early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics can stop the progress of the condition and hugely improve the patient’s chances of survival and recovery.

Last year, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust launched a campaign to raise awareness of the signs of sepsis.

The sepsis boxes will help us deliver the right treatment quickly and efficiently. Ultimately, that saves lives.

The trust started a series of training sessions using a high-tech simulation dummy to help clinicians recognise the early signs of sepsis, introduced a new screening tool to its Accident and Emergency departments, and used its electronic patient monitoring system Patientrack to alert doctors and nurses to markers of the condition.

These measures have already helped reduce mortality rates and now the hospitals are adding an extra focus on making sure clinicians are able to act fast whenever they see sepsis.

The outreach nurses behind the awareness programme are starting to introduce ‘sepsis boxes’ to wards and departments. These boxes contain all the equipment needed to begin treating a patient with the antibiotics that could save their life.

Outreach Sister Carol Stevens-Newsom explained: “The idea is that once you have identified a patient with sepsis you can very quickly make sure you have all the things you need to follow the guidelines and give them antibiotics within 60 minutes.

“The box contains blood culture bottles, blood forms, fluid charts – everything you need to follow the guidelines is packed neatly so it’s all to hand when you need it.”

Her colleague Sarah Dearling added: “The evidence shows that for every hour that the administration of antibiotics is delayed, the chances of the patient dying increase by 8%, so it’s crucial that we identify the symptoms early and then act fast in beginning treatment.

“Patientrack has helped with identification and the sepsis boxes will help us deliver the right treatment quickly and efficiently. Ultimately, that saves lives.”

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