Emergency department (ED) nurses are implementing procedures to help detect and treat sepsis faster. Sepsis is a serious medical condition that causes a severe, full-body infection and is often life threatening, especially in patients with a weakened immune system. Diagnosing patients with sepsis as quickly as possible can make a difference between life and death.
“As soon as patients come into the emergency department, their vital signs are taken [looking for] things like elevated temperatures or low blood pressure, which may be an indication that the patient has already developed sepsis,” according to Lisa Rasimowicz, RN, BSN, CIC, an infection preventionist at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J. 
While sepsis protocol varies among hospitals, some hospital EDs are seeing significant results from implementing updated programs. Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has seen sepsis mortality drop by about 32% since launching its Code Sepsis program in September 2010. The Code Sepsis protocol focuses on early identification. If a patient in the ED has three symptoms of sepsis, nurses activate a Code Sepsis and the patient is addressed immediately.
“Before we started [Code Sepsis], our survival rate of … patients [with sepsis] was about 62% and has increased to about 82%,” said Judy Flaherty, RN, CPHQ, manager of clinical outcomes at Vassar Brothers.
The Braden Scale
Sepsis is also a major concern for long-term care facilities. Wound care assessments are essential to the prevention of potential infections, such as sepsis. The Braden Scale, introduced in 1987, is used by healthcare professionals is used to determine a patient’s risk in developing wounds that may cause infections, specifically pressure ulcers. The six factors taken into consideration in the Braden Scale include:
- Sensory Perception
- Friction and Shear
Each category is scored and used to determine a patient’s risk of developing pressure ulcers. The implementation of programs such as the Braden Scale are helping long-term care facilities prevent and treat wounds and infections better everyday.
For more information on how WoundRounds uses the Braden Scale to asess wound risk, visit woundrounds.com.
 Hilton, Lisette. “Local ED nurses enact quick-diagnosis sepsis programs.” New York Nursing News. Web. 23 July 2012