In the United States, approximately 1.7 million adult hospitalizations and more than one-third of hospital deaths each year are due to sepsis (Rhee et al., 2017). Current recommendations and guidelines focus on early recognition and management of sepsis, and rightly so as we know early interventions improve outcomes and survival. However, adding or improving hospital sepsis programs along with interventions for long-term management and recovery to our fight against sepsis has the potential to improve those outcomes even more.
The 2022 National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) annual survey, which evaluates the prevalence and characteristics of sepsis programs in acute care hospitals, found that of the 5,221 hospitals surveyed, 73% have sepsis teams and 55% provide dedicated time for team leaders to manage sepsis programs (Dantes et al., 2023). We can do better.
Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements
Supporting hospitals and healthcare systems to ensure effective teams and resources to optimize sepsis programs and outcomes is essential. In August 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the Hospital Sepsis Core Elements Program
. This new program focuses on 7 elements to structure the multifaceted care necessary for managing sepsis:
- Hospital leadership commitment
- Multi-professional expertise
For each of these 7 elements, the CDC includes “priority examples” and “additional examples” to help hospital programs organize tasks to best achieve their goals. For those institutions that are newly establishing a program or those with limited resources, a targeted list to “get started’ is also included to prioritize the initial activities of identifying program leaders/co-leaders, securing support from hospital or healthcare system leadership, conducting a needs analysis, and establishing initial goals based on those results (CDC, 2023).
Supporting those on the frontlines in the fight against sepsis
The work toward improving sepsis care and outcomes is ongoing and it’s refreshing to see a leading organization create this program to support those on the frontlines. As nurses, we know that the statistics on sepsis outcomes are alarming, and we also know that those statistics are actual people with important lives to live and with family and friends who love them.
As evidence and new tools become available, it’s critical that we take those next steps not only to translate the research and use those tools, but to share them with our healthcare colleagues, patients, families, and the public.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP). (2023, August 24). Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements. https://www.cdc.gov/sepsis/core-elements.html
Dantes, R. B., Kaur, H., Bouwkamp, B. A., Haass, K. A., Patel, P., Dudeck, M. A., Srinivasan, A., Magill, S. S., Wilson, W. W., Whitaker, M., Gladden, N. M., McLaughlin, E. S., Horowitz, J. K., Posa, P. J., & Prescott, H. C. (2023). Sepsis Program Activities in Acute Care Hospitals - National Healthcare Safety Network, United States, 2022. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 72(34), 907–911. https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7234a2
Rhee, C., Dantes, R., Epstein, L., Murphy, D. J., Seymour, C. W., Iwashyna, T. J., Kadri, S. S., Angus, D. C., Danner, R. L., Fiore, A. E., Jernigan, J. A., Martin, G. S., Septimus, E., Warren, D. K., Karcz, A., Chan, C., Menchaca, J. T., Wang, R., Gruber, S., Klompas, M., … CDC Prevention Epicenter Program (2017). Incidence and Trends of Sepsis in US Hospitals Using Clinical vs Claims Data, 2009-2014. JAMA, 318(13), 1241–1249. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.13836