More than 30,000 patients across Canada are hospitalized annually due to sepsis, a condition caused by the body’s response to severe infection. Of that number, 30% die from sepsis-related complications. Each hour of delayed treatment for sepsis results in an 8% increase in mortality rate. Strategies for early recognition and treatment reduce the risk of death from sepsis and increase patient safety.

What are we measuring?

  • Percentage of patients who receive antibiotics within the appropriate time-frame
  • Percentage of patients who have a blood culture test before receiving IV antibiotics 
  • Percentage of patients who have IV fluids administered within the appropriate time-frame
  • Percentage of patients who show acceptable lactate levels (to indicate whether the cells are getting enough oxygen) within the appropriate time-frame
  • Number of sepsis-related patient deaths in hospital

Island Health Success

Since early 2011, staff at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) have been collaborating to implement a protocol and develop a culture of sepsis prevention. Every care area, from pharmacy to lab to frontline staff, has been working to make sure patients at risk for sepsis get the care they need as quickly as possible. This means getting patients assessed in triage and on to treatment in under an hour.

Staff in the emergency department now have sepsis kits, which contain the antibiotics needed to treat sepsis, decreasing the time it takes to get patients the care they need. Staff engagement about sepsis, including discussion huddles and a monthly score-board, help to prioritize sepsis prevention in daily care.

This protocol, initially implemented by NRGH staff, is now being implemented at other Island Health locations.

Learn More from the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council.

BCPSQC Sepsis Backgrounder (PDF)