Sepsis is a preventable condition, yet according to the UK Sepsis Trust between 1,000 and 4,000 children under the age of five die of it each year in the UK alone. Part of the problem is a lack of awareness surrounding what the early symptoms of sepsis look like, which is something nurses - alongside the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) - is hoping to change.
UK nursing staff are calling for a new system to be rolled out across the country to enable both healthcare professionals and parents to spot the signs of sepsis in children before it’s too late. This would include a Paediatric Early Warning Sign Score (PEWS) similar to the National Early Warning Score for adults that was introduced last year.
The introduction of a PEWS system is something for which many nurses have sought for around a decade. In addition, the scheme would involve standardised tests of a child’s heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and temperature. This has already been trialled at several institutions, including Great Ormond Street Hospital.
To promote the new system, sepsis survivor Tom Ray will be speaking at the RCN’s annual Congress in Liverpool. A delayed diagnosis of the condition left him a quadruple amputee, and he is now calling for mandatory training to be rolled out for all nurses and midwives.
Mr Ray said: “Poor outcomes for patients are equally dramatic for staff, friends and family and they will continue to happen if nursing staff are overstretched, under-trained and unsupported. My own experience has placed huge strain on myself, my family and my carers; and it should never have happened.
“Damage and even death from sepsis will continue until there is a commitment to educate all staff to give every patient the care and attention that is needed to spot and treat sepsis as fast as possible.”
Written by James Puckle
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