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September is Sepsis Awareness Month: Help Educate Your Patients and Your Community

September 11, 2020

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that, without immediate treatment, can quickly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death. According to the Sepsis Alliance, sepsis affects 1.7 million people and takes 270,000 lives in the U.S. every year.

Sepsis is an inflammatory response to a severe infection which triggers a rapid series of events, such as leaking blood vessels and impaired blood flow. Septic shock occurs when adequate blood pressure cannot be restored, and can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Early detection and treatment of septic patients is key to improving the health of the patient and reducing the risk of death.

September is National Sepsis Awareness Month, encouraging education about and a better understanding of this medical emergency. Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of sepsis—and knowing the importance of immediate medical attention—can save lives.

Common symptoms of sepsis, from the Sepsis Alliance website, include:

  • Temperature: Body temperature is higher or lower than usual
  • Infection: May have signs or symptoms of an infection
  • Mental Decline: Confusion, sleepy, difficult to rouse
  • Extremely Ill: Severe pain, discomfort, shortness of breath

In preparation for World Sepsis Day on September 13, 2020, many nationwide organizations are providing educational materials, infographics, brochures, flyers and other patient and provider resources:

  • Sepsis Alliance:  Provides extensive educational information, survivor stories, webinars and training modules, plus downloadable graphics and recommendations about how to help spread the word about the importance of sepsis education

HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals have a long history of working to prevent sepsis and efforts continue. However, many hospitals may have had to place sepsis work on hold and transition efforts from sepsis survivorship to COVID-19 survivorship. This is a good time to regroup and review where you were and what you had in place pre-COVID-19 and get back on track.

For more information about HAP’s sepsis initiatives, please contact Maggie Miller, project manager.