• Article
  • September 23, 2015

Children's Hospitals Have a Voice at National Sepsis Forum

Sepsis is a leading cause of death in hospitalized children, and early recognition of sepsis will save children’s lives. To bring more awareness to the issue, Amy Knight, chief operating officer of Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), participated in a panel discussion on sepsis September 16 at the Rory Staunton Foundation’s Second National Forum on Sepsis.

Others joining Knight on the panel included Jean Moody-Williams, deputy director of Center for Clinic Standards and Quality at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Martin Doerfler, M.D., senior vice president of clinic strategy and development, North Shore-LIJ Health System and medical advisor to the Rory Staunton Foundation; Ciaran Staunton, founder of the Rory Staunton Foundation; and Ann Chescin, mother of Katie, who died from sepsis at 26.

Panelists discussed efforts to reduce the rate of mortality and disabilities from sepsis, and the challenges to those efforts. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also spoke at the event.

Knight talked about CHA’s emerging work on pediatric sepsis, specifically an initiative to reduce the number of deaths from severe sepsis. The Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes (IPSO) Collaborative, which is one year into the planning phase, will engage physicians across the continuum of care in improving protocols for diagnosing and treating sepsis to reduce the incidence of hospital-onset severe sepsis and mortality by 75 percent.

“Major changes in the way children are cared for have come about through two primary mechanisms: change in practice—working at the caregiver level to impact how children are assessed, diagnosed and treated; and change in policy—working through legislative and regulatory bodies to change the systems of care for children,” said Knight in explaining CHA’s scope of work. When asked about obstacles to achieving success in ending the sepsis crisis, she pointed to the need for more awareness of sepsis and how it presents itself.

“It will take a coordinated national effort that includes engagement of clinicians, hospital leadership, parents and others to overcome the sepsis crisis,” said Knight. “There needs to be a commitment to study, articulate and spread best practices.”

During the forum, Orlaith Staunton announced the formation of a coalition of families impacted by sepsis. The National Family Council on Sepsis provides a national network of families who have lost loved ones to sepsis and survivors of the disease to share support for each other and work towards the adoption of Rory’s Regulations, a set of evidence-based protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis, in all 50 states.