• Article
  • April 25, 2018

3 Areas Where Children's Hospitals are Improving Detection and Care of Pediatric Sepsis Patients

Hospitals share their strategies for fighting sepsis.

Early detection of sepsis can save a child's life, yet defining the detection plan and effective intervention following diagnosis is a challenge for providers. Last year, more than 48 children's hospitals participating in the Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes (IPSO) collaborative gathered to share the methods they created to help reach the goal of reducing sepsis deaths and severe sepsis.

A recent issue of Pediatric Quality and Safety highlighted the work of some of those children's hospitals. Topics covered a range of work essential to effective hospital sepsis response, such as adapting huddles, detecting and screening in the Emergency Department (ED), and detecting sepsis in oncology units. Here's a closer look at a few of those approaches:

New approaches to huddles

Team huddles are a common practice, but at Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at NYU Langone, family engagement in huddles is a key part of the hospital's approach to care. Using a Quality Improvement Approach to Engage Families in Emergency Room Sepsis Huddles outlines the training model for sepsis huddles in the ED, which emphasizes using terms family members can understand. Clinicians reported the model improved efficiency and priority to engage families in huddles.

Focusing on prompt recognition and treatment, the team at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU used rapid Plan Do Study Act cycles to improve documentation and provider communication during sepsis huddles. Time to Huddle: Initiating the Bedside Sepsis Huddle in Acute Care Pediatric Unit gives an overview of outcomes and how screening and huddle process change helped the pediatric department meet the goal of 70 percent of first dose STAT antibiotics administered within one hour.

Screening in the ED

Often, children visit the ED with symptoms that aren't immediately linked to sepsis. To help reduce delay in recognition and treatment, staff members at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, created a unit-based sepsis committee. Optimizing Performance: Emergency Department Sepsis Champions Past, Present, and Future, describes how the committee's education efforts standardized care and reduced time to treatment.

Oncology unit awareness

Hospitalized pediatric oncology patients frequently require transfer to the pediatric intensive care unit. At St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, staff members used a system to help with early identification of clinical deterioration and improve outcomes in these patients. Impact of Implementing a Pediatric Early Warning System (PEWS) in a Pediatric Oncology Hospital shares how using PEWS resulted in standardized care and improvement in culture of safety in the hospital.

View the children's hospitals' strategies for detecting and caring for pediatric sepsis patients.

Send questions or comments to magazine@childrenshospitals.org.