When treating a patient with suspected sepsis1 or another life-threatening infection, administer appropriate empiric antimicrobials as soon as possible. There should be prompt access to the appropriate antimicrobials.
Obtain clinical specimens as appropriate, but do not delay administration of antimicrobials and do not wait for results of investigations. When results are received, immediately reassess the treatment.
If there is no immediate access to the appropriate antimicrobials, arrange for immediate transfer of the patient to an acute care facility; for example, ambulance transfer to a hospital. This is relevant in community settings or for some rural hospitals.
When considering the administration of antimicrobials for patients with life-threatening or serious infections, the patient’s advance care plan should be considered. Safe and high-quality end-of-life care should be aligned with the values, needs and wishes of the individual, and their family or carers. For ethical reasons, it is important not to harm patients approaching the end of life by providing burdensome investigations and treatments that can be of no benefit.2