The recognition and management of sepsis in urgent care out of hours setting
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractAs the majority of sepsis cases occur in the community, Justine Dexter and Gerri Mortimore provide an overview of the assessment, diagnosis and management of the condition for those working in out of hours settings. Sepsis is a life-threatening and common condition prompted by a microbial infection. Sepsis is responsible for the death of more people than prostate, bowel or breast cancer collectively, and it causes the second highest mortality rates after cardiovascular disease. The majority of sepsis cases occur in the community, with 30% developing while the patient is in hospital. In many instances, sepsis is avoidable and treatable. The aetiology of sepsis is not always known, making diagnosis difficult, with only 50% of cases having a confirmed pathogenic organism. The signs and symptoms most obviously connected with sepsis are confusion or unusual behaviour, hypotension and increased respiratory rate. However, some patients have non-specific symptoms, and just complain of feeling extremely unwell. Any patients who have these signs or symptoms should be assessed for the possibility of sepsis, regardless of whether pyrexia is present. To aid in detection and decision making about sepsis, the use of screening tools have been advocated to shorten the period prior to the administration of antibiotics. Children characteristically compensate physiologically for a considerable time and then deteriorate quickly; therefore, a crucial focus is to spot a sick child rapidly. Many urgent care out of hours (UCOOH) services are nurse-led. Therefore, it often falls on advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) to educate healthcare assistants to spot the sick person, especially as they are usually the first person the patient sees. Leadership plays a key role for ANPs in UCOOH by helping to progress the pathway for patients to ensure the sickest are prioritised.
CitationMortimore, G. (2020). 'The recognition and management of sepsis in urgent care out of hours setting'. Practice Nursing, 31(7).