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San Luis Valley Health Recognizes Sepsis Awareness Month

September Sepsis logo

In early August The Valley Courier published a guest opinion by Shawna Manzanares regarding the threat of Sepsis. San Luis Valley Health (SLVH) joins Ms. Manzanares in honoring September as Sepsis Awareness Month. Every two minutes, someone dies from sepsis in the United States – more than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. Nearly 17,000 Coloradans were diagnosed with sepsis in 2016. “Sepsis is quite possibly one of the most complex medical processes out there. It’s not a specific symptom that is easily memorized or recognized by patients,” notes Dr. Megan Koenig, SLVH Emergency Room Medical Director. Sepsis is the body’s response to infection and can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. “Here at SLVH we have taken a very deliberate and proactive approach to find and treat the infection quickly, through education and awareness,” says Koenig.

SLVH has joined efforts with hospitals across the state to improve early identification of sepsis which is key to effective treatment. In addition, SLVH has improved its system for timely interventions and standardized processes across the organization to support effective health care management. Rebecca Sours, RN, BSN, Assistant Director of Nursing and Nurse Informatics Specialist recently summarized key action steps,

“We’ve built a sepsis assessment into our emergency department triage. If a patient screen is positive, and they have suspected source of infection, it triggers the provider to use an ‘order set’ that has everything pre-checked and ready to go.”

These efforts help save time delivering critical health care services.

Most often, sepsis begins outside the hospital and all individuals have an important role to prevent Sepsis by:

  • Getting vaccinated (against the flu, pneumonia, and other infections that could lead to Sepsis).
  • Preventing infections that can lead to Sepsis (by cleaning scrapes and wounds and practicing good hand hygiene).
  • Knowing that time matters. If symptoms get worse following an infection, get medical help immediately and let medical providers know you’re concerned about Sepsis.

Kiley Gibbs, RN, BSN, CEN, Director of Emergency Services and key Sepsis champion at SLVH says it all,

"Together as a community we can fight Sepsis!”

To read The Valley Courier guest opinion by Shawna Manzanares on sepsis awareness, view the link below:

Guest opinion: Mom brings awareness to sepsis threat