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SEPSIS KILLS: early intervention saves lives

The increasing incidence of sepsis is well recognised, and is generally attributed to the growing prevalence of chronic conditions in ageing populations.13 In New South Wales, the number of patients with a diagnosis of sepsis in the Admitted Patient Data Collection (APDC) has increased, and sepsis was involved in 17.5% of in-hospital deaths in 2009, compared with a mortality of 1.5% for all hospital separations (unpublished data).

The clinical presentation of sepsis may be subtle; fever is not always present.4,5 In NSW, failure to recognise and respond to sepsis has been regularly reported. In 2009, 167 incidents were highlighted in a clinical focus report published by the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC).6 A Quality Systems Assessment in 2011, completed by over 1500 respondents across the NSW hospital system, reported that 34% of clinical units did not have guidelines or protocols for managing sepsis.7

This article reports on the SEPSIS KILLS program of the CEC, which aims to promote the skills and knowledge needed for recognising and managing patients with sepsis in NSW hospital emergency departments.


The focus of the program is to RECOGNISE risk factors,…