By introducing simple tools and training ward nurses to use them, Levanger Hospital in Norway reduced deaths from sepsis by 40% in a recent study. The sepsis-related deaths dropped from 12.5% to 7.1% after implementing simple steps, including increased ward nurse training and a special observation chart. The initiative was part of a Norwegian research project that included members from the Mid-Norway Centre for Sepsis Research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Senior author of the paper Erik Solligård, head of the sepsis research center and an associate professor at NTNU, says, “Sepsis is a very common and serious condition that many people die from. Patients with lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or cancer are particularly at risk. However, sepsis doesn’t attract nearly as much attention.” For the study, the team created a flowchart to help the ward staff identify sepsis and an observation chart for scoring severity for ward nurses to use during triage.

Additionally, ward doctors were also given reading materials, and nurses and student nurses attended a 4-hour training session. The treatment course for sepsis was standardized and accompanied by clear guidelines for nurses and doctors. The researchers compared results for a group of patients whose stay in the hospital preceded implementation of the new steps and another group treated after implementation, reports Medical News Today.

The results of the study revealed that in addition to increasing the odds of survival, the new steps reduced the probability of developing severe organ failure and, on average, reduced the time spent in intensive care by 3.7 days. Also, the research team noted other differences, such as “the nurses in the post-intervention group increased their observation frequency of all vital signs,” according to Medical News Today.

In the paper, they credit the results to a treatment system for inpatients, flowchart alert, sepsis-specific triage, and giving ward nurses responsibility for “being in the forefront of sepsis diagnosis.” “This study suggests that ward nurses have a key function in increasing the survival for patients with serious infection. The use of cost-effective and clear tools for the identification of sepsis and the scoring of severity in patients as well as a standardized treatment course can achieve this,” says Solligård.

Source: Medical News Today