Sepsis occurs once an infection has entered the blood stream. It is usually caused when the infection from one part of the body spreads to another part of the body. The condition can quickly deteriorate if it is not properly diagnosed and theater quickly. While all groups of people can contract this disease, the very young and the very old are more susceptible.
New international guidelines layout early recognition and timely, protocol-driven interventions for critical care nurses; the hope is that cases of sepsis will be caught early. These nurses have an important role when it comes to identifying patients with sepsis. The guidelines are intended to reinforce some of the management areas that nurses directly oversee. The focus on early management is due to its effect on patient’s outcome.
The previous guidelines that were published in 2008 suggested that nurses a window of 6 hours and 24 hours to carry out the protocol-defined steps. The change to the protocols reflects the focus on early identification and initiation of treatment.
The new guidelines emphasize 13 things that need to be done within the first 6 hours in order to maximize a patient's opportunity to have a good outcome. Another change these new guidelines bring is the establishment of goals of care as well as the need to a family care conference to discuss the patient's prognosis. The care conference should take place within 72 hours of the patient's admittance to the intensive care unit (ICU).
The hope is that these goals will ensure that goal oriented treatment is being received by patients. It'll also reinforce the use of palliative care and end of life care for patients who would benefit most from these treatment options.
The Surviving Sepsis Campaign recognizes that play a critical role in improving performance and collecting data. Nurses are responsible during each step leading to the patient's admittance to the ICU. This puts them in a position to gather data as the process unfolds and provide feedback to the physicians and other health care professionals involved in the process. Additionally, since nurses are at the patient's bedside makes them more likely to recognize the symptoms of sepsis first. If nurses are prepared then patients who develop sepsis are recognized early and nurses can react quickly, potentially reducing the number of patient deaths due to sepsis.
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