A renewed emphasis on early identification and treatment of sepsis in all emergency departments in the state could help save lives and improve the health of patients affected by sepsis, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium.
Because the vast majority of people who develop sepsis — a condition that results from the body’s extreme response to an infection that can lead to rapid tissue damage, organ failure and death — experience their first symptoms at home or in the community, emergency departments are a key point of entry and intervention.
Sepsis is a leading cause of death in hospitals, a top driver of health care spending and the number one reason for hospital re-admissions in the Commonwealth. Despite its reputation as a health care “mecca,” the report notes that Massachusetts ranks 24th in sepsis mortality and is at the national average among states in providing timely care for patients with sepsis.
The new report, Advancing Sepsis Care in Emergency Medicine, acknowledges the unique challenges to diagnosing and treating sepsis swiftly but lays out a series of recommendations for use by emergency facilities to help Massachusetts become a leader in recognizing and treating sepsis.
The report is based on the work of a special task force of the Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium, comprised of specialists in emergency medicine, patients and others. Task force members studied available evidence and best practices as well as current practices in all 71 hospital emergency departments and hospital satellite emergency facilities in the state before issuing a series of strong, actionable recommendations to improve sepsis care and outcomes.