Working Together News

Saint Joseph Hospital Earns Sepsis Certification

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Having sepsis is a medical emergency. It is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, killing nearly 8 million people each year.

Health care professionals must know how to properly recognize sepsis and treat it quickly and appropriately. Because Saint Joseph Hospital is committed to delivering the highest quality of patient care, it decided to pursue Sepsis Certification from The Joint Commission in 2018.

Following months of work and a rigorous in-hospital site review in late December 2018, Saint Joseph Hospital became the second hospital in the state to be awarded Sepsis Certification from The Joint Commission. Being sepsis-certified improves the quality of patient care by providing more accurate assessments, standardized treatments and reduced variabilities for sepsis management.

“Saint Joseph Hospital always had a pretty robust group to deal with sepsis, but since our certification, we have developed our multidiscipline approach and improved outcomes and clinic metrics,” said James Finigan, MD, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital. “Every doctor will tell you that sepsis is very challenging. It is a hard problem that requires a multidiscipline approach that Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health have put forth.”

This multidisciplinary Sepsis Team at Saint Joseph Hospital is comprised of health professionals from Saint Joseph Hospital, National Jewish Health and Kaiser Permanente. The team includes critical care and hospital medicine physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, nursing educators, performance improvement specialists, health informatics professionals and a nurse manager.

The team identified performance improvement measures (PI) and amended procedures for blood culture collection, antibiotic and fluid administration, and hospital mortality for severe sepsis and septic shock patients. “Improving the four PI measures has allowed our sepsis care to be purposeful and patient-centered,” said Ken Lyn-Kew, MD, critical care specialist at National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital.