Background: Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening infection affecting millions of individuals. Nearly three million individuals are affected annually, killing one in every two to four individuals. Sepsis mortality rates are highest in those 65 and older, making it the most expensive diagnosis paid by Medicare and worldwide at $24 billion dollars. Early goal directed therapy (EGDT), created by the International Surviving sepsis campaign, is a bundled protocol created to decrease mortality rates, however, utilization and completion remains a problem in the emergency department (ED).
Purpose: This project sought to evaluate the gap that exists between best practice and current practice, for sepsis identification and EGDT implementation.
Methods: The project was completed over a four-month period with prior Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and consisted of evaluation of sepsis knowledge and barriers to EGDT. Questionnaires included demographics, sepsis knowledge, barriers to EGDT and AHRQ quality indicators toolkit.
Results: Sample (N=16) included registered nurses (RN) and healthcare providers. Descriptive statistics were utilized for evaluation of questionnaires. Results indicate staff have sound understanding of signs and symptoms of sepsis, however application through case studies demonstrated lower performance. Overall system barriers were minimal, with greatest barriers in central line monitoring and staff shortages. High level unit teamwork exists within the ED, however collaboration is lacking between ED staff and upper management. Results demonstrate moderate disengagement between upper management and staff leading to miscommunication. Recommendations included increased, consistent sepsis education, utilization of Institution for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) triple aim framework for evaluating systems, implementing a closed loop approach to communication, and having a staff champion for sepsis be included in meetings with upper management.