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  1. Nelson, Delores Privette BSN, RN
  2. LeMaster, Teressa H. BSN, RN, CCRN
  3. Plost, Gerald N. MD
  4. Zahner, Michael L. MPH, RN, NE-BC


Patients in every health care setting are at risk for systemic inflammatory response syndrome, sepsis, severe sepsis, and even septic shock. The increasing incidence of sepsis, especially among older adults, its high mortality rate, and its subtle and rapid progression make prompt recognition and treatment imperative. Even though severe sepsis requires treatment in the ICU, the assessment of sepsis isn't solely the domain of the physician, critical care nurse, or ED nurse. Improving outcomes in patients with sepsis depends on every nurse involved in their care. The case study presented here is of a nursing home resident with unrecognized sepsis that progresses to severe sepsis-at which point not even seven days' treatment in the ICU could halt the progression to multiple organ failure.