Pioneering Improvements in Sepsis Care

May 03, 2018

JACKSON, MI—Sepsis is a potentially life threatening condition caused by a bacterial infection in the bloodstream. Henry Ford Allegiance Health physician and Emergency Department Chair Brian Kim, MD, said, “Sepsis is a leading cause of death, especially for the young, elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Sepsis infections move rapidly and need to be identified early in order to prevent further complications or even death.”

Work toward improving sepsis care for patients has been underway at Henry Ford Allegiance Health for many years, and mortality rates have dropped significantly as a result—far lower than the national average. To support these life-saving efforts, a new 19-bed Sepsis Unit was opened in December 2017. This specialized unit is one of only a few in the United States.

“The Sepsis Unit team works diligently to coordinate care, and we’re pleased to see overall patient satisfaction increase,” said Dr. Kim. “Our multidisciplinary team ensures our patients and their family members are included in the plan of care as we prepare them for discharge.”

These efforts are producing desired outcomes for patients. Through January 2018, 155 patients were seen on the Sepsis Unit and the overall readmission rate for sepsis decreased. The average length of stay for Sepsis Unit patients has also decreased.

Not only is the Sepsis Unit seeing positive results from a patient outcome perspective, but encouraging feedback is coming from staff as well. “When asked what they enjoy about being a part of the Sepsis Unit, the overwhelming theme we hear is how staff loves the teamwork that is displayed on that unit. Staff are working great together, bouncing ideas off one another and brainstorming ways to make our unit better,” said Clinical Nurse Manager Travis Ziebell.

By request of the Sepsis Unit staff, a unit sepsis committee was created to focus on making ongoing improvements. “We have already implemented meaningful changes on the unit based on staff feedback,” said Director, Nursing and Patient Care Services JoieLinn Nelson, MSN, RN.

Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Wendy Boersma said, “”We are empowering our nurses to recognize sepsis and initiate the appropriate interventions in order to ensure patients receive the life-saving treatment they need.” Henry Ford Allegiance Health President and CEO Georgia said, "The Sepsis Unit is an example of what can be done when we focus on best practices and evidence-based medicine."

About Henry Ford Allegiance Health

Henry Ford Allegiance Health (HFAH) is a 475-bed health system in Jackson, Michigan. HFAH complements traditional acute care services with primary and community-based to support patients across the health continuum at every stage of life. With its Level II Trauma Center, Henry Ford Allegiance Health provides comprehensive care for severely injured patients. As a teaching hospital, Henry Ford Allegiance Health continually looks to the future with its Center for Health Innovation & Education and Graduate Medical Education program. Through its Health Improvement Organization (HIO), HFAH is also a national leader in forming community partnerships that innovatively address wellness and prevention needs across the region.

About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) is a six hospital system headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. HFHS is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive, integrated health systems, recognized for clinical excellence and innovation. It provides health insurance and health care delivery, including acute, specialty, primary and preventive care services backed by excellence in research and education. HFHS is a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient.

Contact Information

Contact: Vicky Lorencen
Cell: (517) 262-8917
Email: vlorenc1@hfhs.org