Sepsis in Long-Term Care: Data from One State; Strategies to Speed Recognition and Treatment

October 21, 2016 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Long-term care facilities in one state reported 486 potential cases of sepsis, including 17 possibly related deaths, over two years, according to an article in the September 2016 Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory. Pennsylvania nursing homes are required to report healthcare-associated infections to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and the state department of health. Because the reporting system does not include a field specifically asking if the resident has sepsis, analysts regarded cases involving transfer of residents with a healthcare-associated infection to a higher level of care (within or outside the facility) as possible cases of sepsis. In the identified cases, the most common precipitating infection was respiratory tract infection (58%). Sepsis guidelines from the Surviving Sepsis Campaign stress the importance of early recognition and treatment of sepsis. The guidelines also specifically recommend routinely screening potentially infected, seriously ill individuals.

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