A strategy to tackle sepsis in care homes across Lancashire has received national praise.
The county council’s ground-breaking Sepsis Strategy for Lancashire Care Homes 2017-2020 was handed the runners up award following a presentation at the UK Sepsis Trust Sepsis Unplugged Conference, which took place in Birmingham earlier this month.
Sepsis is a life threatening condition which claims more lives than breast, bowel and lung cancer combined. The number of sepsis cases is increasing year on year and this is set to continue. However, early detection and management of sepsis can help save unnecessary suffering and lives.
Older people are at greater risk of sepsis and the county council has been offering free training sessions for staff in Lancashire’s residential and nursing care homes since September last year.
Reducing the risk of infections, identifying the signs of sepsis early and referring residents for time critical care using standardised reporting are some of the topics covered in the training.
County Councillor Shaun Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Our Infection Prevention and Control Team has come up with a new and innovative way of tackling sepsis in Lancashire’s care homes.
“It’s great that this has received national recognition with the Sepsis Unplugged runners up award.
“Sepsis can affect anyone, but elderly people are a particularly high-risk group, which is why it’s so important that care home staff have the know-how to identify the condition quickly and give accurate information to NHS staff.
“The sooner people are treated, the better the chance of recovery and this strategy is crucial in speeding up the whole process.
“This award is a superb achievement and shows the team’s hard work is paying off.”
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: “Sepsis can be fatal and early treatment of anyone affected is crucial.
“Sepsis is triggered by other illnesses such as lung and urinary tract infections and flu. It spreads through the blood and If not treated quickly, leads to a dramatic fall in blood pressure, organ failure and can be fatal.”
People can remember the symptoms of sepsis using the acronym SEPSIS: ‘S’ slurred speech, ‘E’ extreme shivering or muscle pain, ‘P’ passing no urine (in a day), ‘S’ severe breathlessness, ‘I’ ‘I feel like I may die’ and ‘S’ Skin mottled or discoloured.
Dr Karunanithi added: “Sepsis is difficult to detect as many of the symptoms are similar to other illnesses. Local research showed us that care home staff didn’t always know how to recognise the symptoms of sepsis and were not using consistent language when contacting health services.
A key part of the strategy is to ensure care home staff use a standardised way of reporting sepsis called NEWS, which is recognised by Public Health England as the best way of detecting deteriorating conditions and giving health services the information that allows them to treat cases urgently.
“The free training sessions are run by our infection control experts. Staff who have already taken part have found them very useful.
“Congratulations to Jane Mastin, our infection prevention nurse who developed the strategy and the training sessions and who was presented with the award.”
Staff from care homes who want to book a place on the sepsis training and development courses should email email@example.com for more details.
Find out more about the work of the county council’s infection control team on twitter at: @LancsIPC.