What the standard says
Sepsis is a time-critical medical emergency. Assessment and treatment of a patient with suspected sepsis are started urgently according to a locally approved clinical pathway, and their response to treatment is monitored and reviewed. The patient is reviewed by a clinician experienced in recognising and managing sepsis, and is escalated to a higher level of care when required.
What this means for you
Sepsis is a condition that needs urgent treatment. It can cause serious complications or death. If you are not in a hospital and think you or a family member could have sepsis, contact your general practitioner or call 000 for an ambulance.
If there is a chance you have sepsis, medical care should be started immediately and should follow a recognised clinical pathway, which guides doctors and nurses to ensure that you get the important care you need. Fast treatment can prevent complications from sepsis.
Your doctors and nurses will assess your symptoms, take your medical history, and perform tests and procedures to help with your diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor or nurse will make observations, such as measuring your blood pressure, pulse and the number of breaths you take per minute. They will order blood tests, and give medicines and fluids urgently.
Your doctors and nurses will continue to check how you are responding to treatment. They may consult with other doctors and nurses who are experienced in managing sepsis. If you are already in hospital, you may be transferred to a different ward or to the intensive care unit. If you are not in a hospital or are in a small hospital, you may need to be transferred somewhere that can provide the expertise and high-level care that are needed to manage sepsis.
If you or a person you care for is seriously ill and you are worried that the condition is getting worse, it is very important to tell a doctor or nurse in the facility where you are being treated.
If you are still concerned that help is not coming urgently, it is your right to seek help from someone else in the hospital. Hospitals must have systems in place so that you can immediately seek help from someone else, if you feel your concerns are not being addressed or taken seriously. Tell the staff that you think you or your family member has sepsis or ask ‘Could it be sepsis?’, that you want to escalate care, and ask what systems are in place for you or your carer to raise your concerns. Most hospitals will have a telephone number to call. You may have to say that you want to speak to somebody higher up (the next line of management).
Concerns for your wellbeing, or that of the person you are caring for, are valid, and all information is important. These services are available to help you to communicate your concerns so that they can be acted on. Recognising a worsening condition can prevent serious illness or death.