• Reference Material
  • August 30, 2017

Children's Hospitals Plan to Observe Sepsis Awareness Month

Children's hospitals plan to observe Sepsis Awareness Month in September and World Sepsis Day on September 13 in a variety of ways.

Here are examples from some of the 47 hospitals participating in CHA's Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes (IPSO) collaborative


Children’s of Alabama

This hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, plans daily events Sept. 11-15, including

  • Welcome and gift distribution at crosswalks
  • IPSO collaborative physician champion presentation during Acute Care Symposium on sepsis
  • Employees wearing red and black
  • Display table at grand rounds with sepsis education material
  • Unit-level activities and candy bag distribution

The hospital created a flyer and will post signs in the parking decks, feature pop-up banners in hospital (high traffic areas, entrances, crosswalks). An all-employee email from the CEO will inform staff of Sepsis Awareness Month and provide general information about the importance of sepsis, the hospital's commitment, and encourage participation in activities.

Children's Health Children's Medical Center Dallas

Children’s Health SM in Dallas, Texas, plans a series of system-wide and targeted communications on September 13 focused on sepsis awareness, recognition and prevention, and highlighting a dedicated sepsis team.

To build awareness across all staff, the hospital will feature an e-newsletter series including an introduction to sepsis and how to protect yourself, an infographic, how it addresses sepsis system-wide and an interview with the sepsis team.

To reinforce expected behaviors among clinical staff, the hospital will include signage in staff hallways and breakrooms, an article in a physician-facing newsletter, a sepsis-related "safety moment" in a daily safety briefing, and it will distribute sepsis clinical guidelines via targeted email and unit leadership.

The hospital also will celebrate the dedication of its sepsis team with a breakfast, which will include a personal message of thanks from leadership. The team's work will be a lead story in a system-wide e-newsletter.

Children’s Hospital Colorado

This hospital in Aurora, Colorado, plans to engage staff with activities focused on the slogan: "Is this Sepsis? Saving a life starts with asking the question." The hospital’s aim is to bring attention to its local process improvement project and work with CHA’s IPSO collaborative.

As part of this effort, sepsis information will appear on the hospital’s intranet homepage and TV screens in staff areas. Articles in a biweekly clinical team newsletter will highlight team members, such as Sepsis Hero Award recipient Beth Wathen, and showcase the resources the hospital is testing on general care floors. 

Reaching all staff, the hospital will feature the slogan on computer screen savers throughout the hospital, and staff will receive emails from the CNO and chief medical and patient safety officer. 

To help its teams access key sepsis information easily, the hospital created a central document of resources, including algorithms for an escalation huddle and an urgent IV and lab draw; an updated order set for inpatient suspected sepsis; and a sepsis checklist that the team will continue to update with treatment and process recommendations. The hospital’s IT team ensured the document is the first result for anyone who searches “sepsis” from the intranet homepage.

Other plans include: 

  • Giveaways including travel coffee mugs and mouse pads with the sepsis slogan to offer a daily reminder to ask “Is this sepsis?”
  • In-person rounding in care areas to share information, and provide resources and updates
  • StopSepsis@childrenscolroado.org email address to collect ideas and feedback

Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU

This hospital in Richmond, Virginia, plans to build awareness through

  • Sepsis town hall to provide education, institution data and fun games (e.g. which team can infuse IV the fastest with push-pull method, a variation of Jeopardy)
  • Facilitated discussion including how providers feel, sepsis huddles, communication and barriers to share successes and challenges
  • Daily safety call for staff featuring pediatric and adult sepsis topics
  • Sepsis awareness ribbons (red and black) available at units and events
  • Cookies decorated with the ribbon for staff on September 13th

The hospital also is educating the community through open time for families to learn about what sepsis is, how they can help and what the health system is doing. Sessions will include games, fun activities and food. Richmond also will advertise on its Facebook page and other social media.  

Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics 

This hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, will offer patient and family outreach with a booth outside the hospital cafeteria on World Sepsis Day, Sept. 13. There will be giveaways, such as bacteria-shaped stuffed toys, candy and a trifold sepsis brochure. 

For staff, a situational awareness tool for sepsis screening will be rolled out as part of a campaign to promote diagnosis and awareness hospital-wide.

Children’s National Medical Center

Children’s National in Washington, D.C., will take sepsis education to its units in “Sepsis Carts,” which contain education materials, such as fliers and brochures including

  • What is sepsis?
  • Sepsis burden at CNMC 
  • Current work of the sepsis collaborative at CNMC

Nursing staff may participate in a simulation exercise. The Emergency Department will hold a special education session for its clinicians on sepsis. 

Cook Children's Medical Center

Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas, plans include

  • Focus on sepsis during Grand Rounds
  • Sharing World Sepsis Day with its community via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Interactive sepsis storyboards (posters) in the hospital atrium
  • Fluid bolus races
  • Spin the wheel and answer a sepsis question
  • Sharing World Sepsis Day plans before and after the event in weekly updates and intranet

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

C.S. Mott in Ann Arbor, Michigan, plans to educate physician house staff during grand rounds through a presentation titled, “It’s Okay to Use the ‘S-word’ Around Children: Suspect Sepsis, Save Lives!” offered by a hospital c-suite admin, physician and nurse.  They also will present to faculty who do not attend grand rounds.  To broaden its reach, the hosptial will post a sepsis awareness flyer in the facility and circulate it electronically and on an elevator slideshow.

Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital

This hospital in Loma Linda, California, will use World Sepsis Day to announce to staff its involvement in the IPSO collaborative. Screensavers on every hospital computer will include photos of children and the theme: “Help our hospital defeat sepsis and save lives,” plus a link to “Practice early identification, fast treatment and ongoing assessment.” The link points to a video from the Executive Sponsor, which also will be on the hospital’s home page. The video will review what sepsis is and highlight what the hospital is doing to fight morbidity and mortality from sepsis.  Posters and festive balloons will be placed throughout the hospital prior to rolling out bundle implementations.  

Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington)
Nemours Children's Hospital (Orlando)

Nemours hospitals in Wilmington, Delaware, and Orlando, Florida, will highlight sepsis awareness to their providers and communities.  

Starting in September, each facility will participate in an "Amazing Race Against Sepsis," a weekly series of events covering the daytime and nighttime staff.

  • The first week will include educational blitzes on the inpatient units playing "Wheel of Questions," a Wheel of Fortune style game where staff answer questions regarding sepsis symptoms and treatment goals (for a sweet reward).
  • The second week will include physical challenges, such as competing to see which team completes their interventions the fastest. This will include activities like "IO in an Egg" and "Push-Pull Bolus Races," and "MDs versus RNs."  
  • The third week combines both the mental and the physical using sepsis simulations, to have teams rapidly assess and determine which patients meet sepsis intervention criteria and then race against the clock to establish IV access; deliver hand-written medication orders; receive, deliver, and administer their IV antibiotics; and administer any fluid boluses necessary based on simulated patient status.
  • The month will culminate in a Jeopardy competition, where small teams from each facility will compete in "Sepsis Jeopardy" to become the Sepsis Champion of Nemours.

Additionally, the hospital is filming interviews with families of patients who’ve participated in sepsis screenings and received interventions to prevent their progression to severe sepsis. They will highlight these families’ experiences to personalize the effect of early intervention.  

North Carolina Children’s Hospital (UNC Health)

UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, will kick off its 2018 sepsis program plan and announce that UNC Hospitals has joined CHA's IPSO collaborative.

This year’s Sepsis Awareness Day theme is “Code Sepsis: Educate. Innovate. Activate!” It will be an all-day event in the children’s hospital lobby with poster sessions, light refreshments, game prizes and sepsis education.

Over 500 families of pediatric patients were educated about sepsis recognition and treatment with the Family Sepsis Education Initiative (FSEI) championed by Sepsis Alliance 2016 Sepsis Heroes honoree Hillary Spangler, a first year Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Resident at UNC. Patient and family advocates who are sepsis survivors are invited to attend this year's event and be recognized for their commitment and service. 

The hosptial also will offer simulation training for IV fluid resuscitation and just-in-time education to nurses on sepsis recognition and Code Sepsis protocol.  They will recognize the frontline patient care teams who work to stop sepsis at the hospital. 

Other events planned during the month include celebrations of the unsung heroes in Phlebotomy, Pharmacy, Respiratory Therapy and Communications who care for patients but are not always on the frontline.

Primary Children’s Hospital

In addition to its ongoing sepsis program, which includes updates via weekly email to PICU staff and bimonthly discussions with PICU and ED care providersPrimary Children's in Salt Lake City, Utah, plans several initiatives:

  • Include sepsis patient case and discussion about efforts at PCH in the Intermountain Patient Stories September publication
  • Include Sepsis Awareness Month information on the unit huddle boards and in unit huddles
  • Share sepsis awareness goals at safety coach meeting
  • Develop posters to encourage sepsis awareness and three key points for posting in high-risk areas, bathrooms, work rooms, elevators, etc. 
  • Share sepsis awareness goals at RN charge nurse meetings and regularly scheduled meeting series for various divisions (e.g. NICU, PICU, PEM M&M conferences)
  • Distribute posters and targeted information for the PCH educator group to share with their departments
  • Announcement at Grand Rounds and ZH Situation Awareness lecture series through September