Sepsis has been called an epidemic hiding in plain sight. In the U.S., sepsis is responsible for 1 in every 3 hospital-based deaths. Any infection, including viral infections such as COVID-19, can cause sepsis. Sepsis, in turn, may lead to serious illness including tissue damage and multiple organ failure, and if left untreated, it may also lead to death. Patients who recover from serious bouts of sepsis often face long and difficult recoveries.
Approximately 1.7 million American adults develop sepsis each year, and 270,000 will die as a result of it. Recognizing and fighting sepsis in hospitalized patients is difficult, and right now it is further complicated by higher numbers of patients on ventilators (and, in some cases, even sharing ventilators). Many of the seriously ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients are also fighting sepsis.
Successful Sepsis Interventions During COVID-19
Sepsis prevention and treatment has historically been somewhat difficult because the identity and source of the pathogen(s) that caused the sepsis is frequently unknown. Sepsis-focused interventions are most likely to be successful when the identity and source of the sepsis are known. Fortunately, this will likely be the case in many hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
While the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have both issued guidance on general infection control and sepsis, there is still somewhat limited guidance on the management of critically ill sepsis patients with COVID-19. Educating staff about the signs and symptoms (Fever, Infection, Mental Decline/Confusion and Feeling Extremely Ill) is the first line of defense against sepsis whether it be community or hospital-acquired.
Use the links below to learn more about sepsis and how HealthStream can help your organization deliver better outcomes.
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