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Posted on 24 May 2018
Infection prevention and control
Innovation and improvement

Think sepsis. Act fast.

Sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in hospital patients worldwide. It is a time-critical illness requiring early identification and prompt intervention to improve patient mortality outcomes.

A new statewide collaborative project is helping health services improve outcomes for patients diagnosed with sepsis.

The ‘Think sepsis. Act fast’ project has resulted in significant improvements in mortality, length of stay, and ICU admissions related to sepsis.

The project is giving health services across Victoria access to valuable tools and resources. An initiative of the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund, it has been scaled to 11 health services across the state.

Early success at South West Healthcare

Lynn Gardiner, the Sepsis Project Lead at South West Healthcare in Warrnambool, says the heath service has had early success with the pilot.

‘I had just finished two sessions of sepsis pathway education with emergency department (ED) staff going over the pathway when a patient came in with septic shock. The staff had just finished saying how excited they were about the sepsis project and for the pathway to start.

 ‘Following the education sessions, staff were well prepared and got stuck in with making sure the six key actions happened fast – oxygen, two sets of blood cultures, lactate, fluids, monitoring observations and antibiotics all within 60 minutes.

‘The pilot is going great. There is just so much “sepsis talk” amongst the troops, it is fabulous. They are all super keen and they discuss between themselves why/how their patients met the criteria and how the six key actions were met.

‘Our ED looks great with our banners, posters and balloons. It’s become quite the talking point as soon as people walk in. It’s a great visual cue for people as soon as they come to the ED.’

South West Healthcare, Warrnambool team
The team at South West Healthcare celebrate the start of the Sepsis improvement project pilot.

About the project

The project was initially developed at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in 2013 and implemented across the Royal Melbourne Hospital by Melbourne Health.

The project provides health services with a toolkit that includes a paper-based clinical pathway to standardise initial sepsis management. The pathway outlines six actions to take in the 60 minutes following sepsis recognition: oxygen, two sets of blood cultures, venous blood lactate, rapid fluid resuscitation, monitoring observations and appropriate antibiotic administration. The toolkit also includes a staff education package.

Participating health services include: Albury Wodonga Health, The Alfred, Ballarat Health Services, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health, Eastern Health, Peninsula Health, South West Healthcare, Swan Hill Health, West Gippsland Health, and Western Health.

For more information on the project visit the Better Care Victoria website.

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Page last updated: 04 Jun 2018