Quality statement 5 – Patient and carer education and information

A patient, their family or carer is informed about sepsis from the time that it is suspected in a way that they can understand. Information includes the expected treatment and potential health effects of sepsis. Information is provided verbally and in writing.

Purpose

To ensure that patients receive clear and timely information about sepsis, its treatment and potential outcomes throughout their care.

For patients

A member of your healthcare team will provide you with information and education about the diagnosis of sepsis and the type of treatment you or your family member is receiving. The information should be given to you in a way that you understand, especially if there are decisions to be made about your treatment.

The information you need will change over time and as you see different types of clinicians. It is important to ask questions and let the clinician know if you have any concerns about your treatment, including about any changes that have been made. Healthcare services 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 want to escalate care and ask what systems are in place for you or your carer to raise your concerns.

It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of your condition getting worse.

Sepsis can affect multiple systems in your body, and effects can be different for everyone. You should be given information about what to do if you are concerned about your condition worsening and who to contact.

When you leave hospital, information about how to manage your condition and what to expect should also be provided to you.

For clinicians

Support patients from when sepsis is first suspected, by providing verbal information early. Written information should be provided while in hospital, appropriate to the stage of care. Provide information about:

  • Their suspected or probable sepsis diagnosis
  • Treatment options and the benefits and risks associated with them, including the rationale behind the treatment
  • The signs of deterioration and what patients should do if they deteriorate
  • Systems to escalate care when the patient, their family or carer is concerned
  • What they can do to best support their health after discharge, including actions they should take if they are concerned about a possible further episode of sepsis
  • Prescribed medicines, including how to use them correctly and their potential adverse effects
  • Any precautions they need to take to limit the spread of infection to others
  • Arrangements for follow-up care
  • The nature and length of sepsis recovery, and the resources and support available to assist this recovery.

Empower patients and carers to meaningfully contribute to shared decision making.

Attend sepsis education sessions provided by your healthcare service or professional organisation.

For healthcare services

Ensure that there are resources and processes in place to provide patients, their families and carers with information on:

  • Sepsis diagnosis, treatment and management
  • Accessing services
  • Health care that may be required after discharge.

Ensure that clinicians have access to interpreters and written information in multiple languages, based on patient demographics. Resources should be co-designed with consumers, including culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Ensure that clinicians undergo sepsis education training.

For patients

A member of your healthcare team will provide you with information and education about the diagnosis of sepsis and the type of treatment you or your family member is receiving. The information should be given to you in a way that you understand, especially if there are decisions to be made about your treatment.

The information you need will change over time and as you see different types of clinicians. It is important to ask questions and let the clinician know if you have any concerns about your treatment, including about any changes that have been made. Healthcare services 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 want to escalate care and ask what systems are in place for you or your carer to raise your concerns.

It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of your condition getting worse.

Sepsis can affect multiple systems in your body, and effects can be different for everyone. You should be given information about what to do if you are concerned about your condition worsening and who to contact.

When you leave hospital, information about how to manage your condition and what to expect should also be provided to you.

For clinicians

Support patients from when sepsis is first suspected, by providing verbal information early. Written information should be provided while in hospital, appropriate to the stage of care. Provide information about:

  • Their suspected or probable sepsis diagnosis
  • Treatment options and the benefits and risks associated with them, including the rationale behind the treatment
  • The signs of deterioration and what patients should do if they deteriorate
  • Systems to escalate care when the patient, their family or carer is concerned
  • What they can do to best support their health after discharge, including actions they should take if they are concerned about a possible further episode of sepsis
  • Prescribed medicines, including how to use them correctly and their potential adverse effects
  • Any precautions they need to take to limit the spread of infection to others
  • Arrangements for follow-up care
  • The nature and length of sepsis recovery, and the resources and support available to assist this recovery.

Empower patients and carers to meaningfully contribute to shared decision making.

Attend sepsis education sessions provided by your healthcare service or professional organisation.

For healthcare services

Ensure that there are resources and processes in place to provide patients, their families and carers with information on:

  • Sepsis diagnosis, treatment and management
  • Accessing services
  • Health care that may be required after discharge.

Ensure that clinicians have access to interpreters and written information in multiple languages, based on patient demographics. Resources should be co-designed with consumers, including culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Ensure that clinicians undergo sepsis education training.

Equity and cultural safety

Resources

Related resources have been identified which are relevant to the quality statements, including:

  • Decision support tools and sepsis pathways and other guidance about sepsis - including state and territory resources
  • Guidelines and tools for recognising and responding to acute deterioration, including patient escalation pathways for each state and territory
  • Resources to support management of antimicrobial therapy
  • Education and information for patients and carers during hospitalisation for sepsis, on discharge and through survivorship.

A range of implementation resources have also been developed by the Commission including guidance, factsheets and tools for healthcare services and clinicians, and resources for consumers.