Sepsis Care

Sepsis is a medical emergency requiring rapid recognition and treatment to improve chances of recovery and survival. In the United States, 270,000 people die each year from this complication of infection. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body responds to the presence of an infection in an extreme way. Sepsis occurs when the body’s response triggers widespread inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, amputation, and/or death.

How does UAB Medicine perform?

Timely & Effective Measures National Average Alabama Average UAB Hospital Comparison Analysis
Sepsis care: percentage of patients who received appropriate care for severe sepsis and septic shock 51% 54% 39%  

What is UAB Medicine doing to improve?

In 2016, UAB Medicine developed a new emergency response called Code Sepsis to assist providers in the treatment of sepsis. The sepsis team initially saw significant decreases in death from sepsis. Renewing UAB Medicine’s commitment to fighting sepsis in 2018, a new leadership structure was put into place that includes representation from many clinicians, including two sepsis coordinators. This leadership team is busy directing projects aimed at improving the recognition and care of patients with sepsis. The goal is to improve communication at important times regarding transition of care and standardize sepsis care across the institution. Other key initiatives include:

  • Encouraging critical thinking and the use of sepsis screening tools to assist with recognizing and treating sepsis at the earliest opportunity.
  • Asking staff to call a Code Sepsis for any patient suspected of having sepsis or whose sepsis is worsening . This action sends a dedicated team of medical staff to evaluate the patient immediately and begin testing and treatment as needed.
  • Treating all patients with sepsis using a standardized set of orders to help ensure excellent care every time. Care is reviewed by the sepsis coordinators for every Code Sepsis.
  • Spreading education about sepsis and sepsis warning signs to our patients and families through digital and print visuals.
  • Sharing new sepsis education and research through a monthly sepsis newsletter sent to all staff.