How nurses can reduce sepsis mortality
Sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitalized patients and has a substantial impact on health care resources. But an evidence-based nursing sepsis protocol, like the one outlined in the January/February 2014 issue of MEDSURG Nursing Journal, was shown to reduce mortality rates and increase nurse satisfaction.
In "Reducing Sepsis Mortality," an interdisciplinary team developed several tools to assist staff in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with sepsis. Tools included:
- A sepsis screening tool that allows nurses to review sepsis-related symptoms.
- Outlined steps the nurse must take in caring for patient with suspected sepsis.
- An electronic sepsis order set.
- Verbal order telephone scripts to support communication between the nurse and physician.
- Complete protocol.
During the first two years after the team's initiative began, 225 adult patients screened positive for sepsis and less than 112 deaths occurred, representing a 50% decrease in mortality. Indirectly, the sepsis screening process led to greater nurse satisfaction based on staff ability to identify early signs and symptoms of sepsis, order necessary tests, and initiate the protocol.