In the new guideline, NICE says all care and health professionals, no matter where they work, need to think about the possibility of sepsis in all service users who may have an infection.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) wants people who show signs of sepsis to be treated with the same urgency given to those with suspected heart attacks.
Sepsis can affect anyone at any time. It starts when the immune system overreacts to an infection and begins to damage the body itself, leading to organ failure and in some cases death.
Professor Saul Faust from the University of Southampton and who chaired the group that developed the guideline, said: “Anyone can succumb to sepsis. It can come on as the result of a minor injury or infection that the body is trying to recover from and the immune system goes into overdrive. Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose with certainty.”
Symptoms of sepsis can vary from person to person. People can get anything from a high temperature, to fast heartbeat to a fever or chills. It can often be mistaken for common infections like flu.
Professor Faust stressed that the only way clinicians could ensure that a diagnosis wasn’t missed was to start asking “could this be sepsis?” earlier on so they rule it out or get people on treatment as soon as possible.
At HCPA, we recommend you to train up a Health Champion to help in areas such as these.
Do you have a Health Champion yet?
In Hertfordshire, we are working closely with HCC and the CCG’s on the integration agenda. As you know we have developed the Complex Care Framework, upskilling services to enable them to better support service users with more complex needs.
East and North Hertfordshire Homes* can access the ‘Complex Care Foundation’ level of the Framework, which, amongst other pathways, delivers a robust training programme to upskill a care practitioner to become a Health Champion.
The Health Champion Pathway is based on the key complex health issues found within residential and nursing homes. It is designed to cover all key areas and prepare a champion who can cascade down knowledge and training throughout the home. The champion will gain knowledge in Neurological conditions, respiratory issues and continence care.
Find out more about the Complex Care Foundation (starting in September) and how you can upskill a member of your staff to recognise signs and symptoms of health issues, like sepsis, and prevent delayed diagnosis and treatment.
* The Complex Care Foundation programme is currently only available for residential homes in East & North Herts. We are working on rolling this out into Herts Valley in the near future.