Sepsis Awareness Week at Goryeb Children’s Hospital

Goryeb Children’s Hospital, with a grant from the R Baby Foundation, has joined forty-seven other children’s hospitals nationwide in the Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes Collaborative. The collaborative hopes to reduce pediatric sepsis mortality and hospital onset of severe sepsis by 75% by 2020.

Sepsis is caused by an infection and kills close to 5,000 children in the U.S. every year. Early detection is crucial, followed by aggressive treatment. However, there is no confirmatory test and sepsis is often misdiagnosed because it mimics common pediatric conditions – fever, racing heart, rapid or labored breathing, cool extremities, and lethargy.

Goryeb instituted a sepsis recognition protocol in its Pediatric Emergency Department and inpatient units. The goal is to intervene earlier and improve outcomes. In May, the team celebrated the start of the initiative with a week of sepsis awareness activities. Included were a Pediatric vs. Emergency Resident trivia match, timed push-pull races and guest speakers who were members of the Sepsis Alliance and parents of Goryeb sepsis survivors. Over seventy-five health professionals attended opening day.

To recognize “sepsis awareness month” in September, Goryeb held additional education and training sessions, including specific sepsis skills days for nursing staff. On September 13th, World Sepsis Day, breakfast was provided for the staff as a thank you for all their hard work supporting the initiative. A jeopardy game between the pediatric residents and medical students also took place. Later that day, a multi-disciplinary educational session and mock simulation code was held to reinforce the principles of the initiative. “Sepsis Heroes” certificates will be awarded to those who work hard to support this initiative.

Dr. Ma Bernardita Gamallo, director of Pediatric Intensive Care at Goryeb Children’s Hospital, Morristown, NJ, attended the Children’s Hospital Association’s “Improving Sepsis Outcome Workshop” in Dallas this past December along with two nurses and two residents. They presented a poster on the new sepsis initiative implemented at Goryeb. The poster will be published next month in the Pediatric Quality and Safety Journal. Goryeb Children’s Hospital was the only NJ hospital represented at this conference. “We are grateful to the R Baby Foundation for the support they have given us to launch the sepsis initiative and intensify our overall work and protocols in this area,” Dr. Gamallo said about the sepsis initiative.