In conjunction with launching a description of core elements for hospital sepsis programs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of its 2022 National Healthcare Safety Network Annual Survey, which evaluated the prevalence and characteristics of sepsis programs in acute-care hospitals. According to the study, the overwhelming majority of hospitals of all sizes reported having a committee that monitors and reviews sepsis care, ranging from 95 percent of hospitals larger than 500 beds to 53 percent for hospitals with 0-25 beds.

The Core Elements program is intended to help hospitals implement, monitor, and optimize sepsis programs and improve survival rates. The CDC survey of 5,221 hospitals found 73 percent report having sepsis teams, but only half (55 percent) report that team leaders are provided with dedicated time to manage sepsis programs. 

“Sepsis is taking too many lives. One in three people who dies in a hospital has sepsis during that hospitalization,” said new CDC Director Mandy Cohen, M.D., M.P.H., in a statement. “Rapid diagnosis and immediate appropriate treatment, including antibiotics, are essential to saving lives, yet the challenges of awareness about and recognition of sepsis are enormous. That’s why CDC is calling on all U.S. hospitals to have a sepsis program and raise the bar on sepsis care by incorporating these seven core elements. Seven elements provide an organizational framework and key concepts that guide hospitals as they work to improve early recognition and treatment to save lives.”

The Sepsis Core Elements are intended to be a “manager’s guide” to organizing staff and identify the resources that will help bring sepsis rates down and survival rates up. Sepsis care is complex. The Sepsis Core Elements approach is an important step to help hospitals structure their sepsis programs to coordinate multiple departments and disciplines and effectively manage the multifaceted care needed.

“I’ve seen firsthand how committed hospitals and health systems are to improving patient safety and reducing sepsis,” said Chris DeRienzo, M.D., the American Hospital Association’s chief physician executive, in a statement. “Sepsis is a complex disease and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to preventing, identifying, treating and measuring it in hospitals. That’s why CDC’s Sepsis Core Elements offer a broad scaffolding for hospitals to build the program they need to best support their own communities.”

Modeled after CDC’s Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship, which has proven to be an impactful resource to protect patients from the harms caused by unnecessary antibiotic use and to combat antimicrobial resistance, the Sepsis Core Elements were created with the expectation that all hospitals, regardless of size and location, would benefit from this resource and incorporate the following elements into the foundation of a strong sepsis program:

  1. Leadership Commitment: Dedicating the necessary human, financial, and information technology resources.
  2. Accountability: Appointing a leader responsible for program outcomes and setting concrete program goals.
  3. Multi-professional expertise: Engaging key partners throughout the organization.
  4. Action: Implementing structures and processes to improve the identification of, management of, and recovery from sepsis.
  5. Tracking: Measuring sepsis epidemiology, outcomes, progress toward program goals, and the impact of sepsis initiatives.
  6. Reporting: Providing usable information on sepsis treatment and outcomes to relevant partners.
  7. Education: Providing sepsis education to healthcare professionals during onboarding and annually.

“CDC’s Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements are a guide for structuring sepsis programs that put your healthcare providers in the best position to rapidly identify and provide effective care for all types of patients with sepsis,” says Raymund Dantes, M.D., M.P.H., CDC medical advisor, in a statement. “The seven elements complement clinical guidelines by describing the leadership, expertise, tracking, education, and other elements that can be implemented in a wide variety of hospitals to improve the quality of sepsis care.”



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