Nearly 25% of child deaths in the world are the result of sepsis (Kusum et al., 2020). While any infection can lead to sepsis, children who have a chronic condition are more likely to succumb to complications from sepsis. As health care leaders, we can support sepsis prevention in our healthcare organization and the communities we serve through antimicrobial stewardship programs, immunization programs and healthcare associated infection prevention.
Antimicrobial stewardship programs
With growing awareness to the importance of early detection and proper treatment of infection to prevent sepsis, there has been an increase in antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) in healthcare organizations. Focused on improvement of children’s clinical outcomes through antibiotic use optimization, ASPs are created to support the needs of the local communities they serve. ASPs often consist of clinical pharmacists, infectious disease physicians, infection preventionists, nurses, clinical laboratory staff and information technologists (Klatte, 2020). Nurses are especially encouraged to be a part of ASPs because of their interdisciplinary communication skills and advocacy for patient care. It’s a great way to become more involved on an organizational level to prevent infection complications and antibiotic resistance.
Another way to combat sepsis is childhood vaccine promotion. While infections such as influenza and meningitis can cause sepsis and be fatal, they are almost 100% preventable through vaccination. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommendations and guidelines that healthcare providers can use to educate parents and families on the best schedule of immunization for their child. Education is very important, since there are misconceptions about vaccine safety that prevent parents from having their children vaccinated.
Healthcare associated infection prevention
While healthcare associated infections can cause sepsis and death, they are preventable with good organizational policy. According to the CDC, one in 31 hospitalized patients experience a healthcare-associated infection per day (CDC, 2018). As healthcare leaders, we can promote utilization of tools such as bundles, policies based on current evidence-based practice and research and tracking to prevent device-related infections and hospital acquired sepsis. Having nurses educate and monitor each other on proper insertion and maintenance techniques of devices will help increase accountability of infection rates of the organization and individual units.
Nurses and healthcare workers can combat pediatric sepsis and improve the health of the community they serve through collaboration, education, and engagement within their organization. What are you doing to combat sepsis in your organization?