Dr Paula Lister, co-chair of the Statewide Paediatric Sepsis Working Group, and Rockhampton Hospital's medicine division nursing director James Jenkins celebrate the first day of a new program designed to reduce the number of deaths from sepsis.
Dr Paula Lister, co-chair of the Statewide Paediatric Sepsis Working Group, and Rockhampton Hospital's medicine division nursing director James Jenkins celebrate the first day of a new program designed to reduce the number of deaths from sepsis. Michelle Gately

Life-saving trial introduced to Rockhampton Hospital

A LIFE-SAVING program run in UK and US hospitals has been introduced in Rockhampton, the first regional trial before a Queensland-wide roll out.

The program sets up a framework for doctors and nurses when treating paediatric and adult patients to prevent infections progressing to the potentially deadly sepsis.

Rockhampton Hospital's medicine division nursing director James Jenkins started his career in the UK, where programs like this have made significant inroads in reducing deaths and permanent disabilities from sepsis.

The month-long trial is being run in conjunction with the Statewide Paediatric Sepsis Working Group and focuses on data gathering and improvements before the program is introduced to new locations.

He is confident the new sepsis pathway will continue beyond the trial period, and will eventually be implemented across all Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service facilities.

Rockhampton was selected for one of the first regional trials because CQHHS was already working on addressing high rates of sepsis, so was eager to join with the group working on a state-wide solution.

Mr Jenkins explained that the earlier infections were recognised and treated, the less risk there was of sepsis developing in adults and children.

With roughly 20 paediatric patients coming to Rockhampton's emergency department each day, the potential impact could be significant.

"We don't like to send our patients anywhere else, we want to look after them here," he said.

"Especially with children, we don't want to disconnect them from their families.

"We have the capability and we have the expertise here in Rockhampton so when this came along it was perfect for us to jump on board.

"It's well proven to work and at the end of the day we're saving lives and that's all we care about."

Dr Paula Lister is a Paediatric Intensivist and co-chair of the Statewide Paediatric Sepsis Working Group.

She said the program will focus on the flow of patients through the emergency department and how it could be improved to allow for early intervention and sepsis prevention.

Dr Lister said the feedback from regional centres like Rockhampton would be crucial in developing a broader Queensland-wide approach.

WHAT IS SEPSIS?

  • Sepsis can happen in response to almost any type of infection and can affect all parts of the body.
  • In severe cases, it can lead to organ failure and can be fatal
  • It is a medical emergency that can be difficult to diagnose and treat
  • Each year about 18,000 people are treated in intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand for severe sepsis

Source: Australian Sepsis Network



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