How your funds help

Donations to Brighter Futures have allowed us to employ a Sepsis Nurse.

Here's how Nic Lythell is helping patients and staff identify the devastating condition that is Sepsis

You may be interested to know in the week of World Sepsis Week that Sepsis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an infection.

In sepsis, the body's immune system goes into overdrive, setting off a series of reactions including widespread inflammation, swelling and blood clotting.

This can lead to a significant decrease in blood pressure, which can mean the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys is reduced.

If not treated quickly, sepsis can eventually lead to multiple organ failure and death.

Each year in the UK, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis and around 37,000 people will die as a result of the condition.

Early symptoms of sepsis usually develop quickly and can include a high temperature (fever), chills and shivering, a fast heartbeat and fast breathing.

In some cases, symptoms of more severe sepsis or septic shock (when your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level) develop soon after.

Management of sepsis after admission to hospital is popularly known as the 'sepsis six'. This involves six elements, three treatments and three tests, which should be initiated by the medical team within an hour of diagnosis.

Treatments include giving antibiotics, giving fluids intravenously and giving oxygen if levels are low.

Nic Lythell says "Since the introduction of the Sepsis 6, recognition of the condition has been increased, particularly in relation to early treatment.

Evidence shows that achieving the Sepsis 6 within an hour can significantly reduce the risk of further deterioration in patients.

This can reduce admissions to Intenstive Care Unit, improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of mortality."

Nic has worked at Great Western Hospital NHS Foundation Trust since qualifying more than 10 years ago.

Most of her time was spent in Intensive Care and Critical Care Outreach.  Having startedin her role as a Sepsis Nurse for the Trust in May her challenges have been to set up a database for recording the incidences of Severe Sepsis, delivering training to Nurses, Doctors and other Health Care Professionals and trialling different ways of identifying patients with Severe Sepsis.

Perhaps most importantly, Nic is an on-call resource to help staff achieve the Sepsis 6 within the hour.

Nic's role has been funded initially by Brighter Futures for the first 12 months. 

The Sepsis Working Group (comprising Doctors, Nurses, Infection Control experts and Pharmacists among many other staff) have been meeting for over a year now and they aim to join forces very soon with other neighbouring Trusts to provide regional training and networking, so that GWH in Swindon can become a local driving force for improvements in Sepsis Care.

Nic says "Receiving the funding from Brighter Futures has enabled me to focus entirely on this project, which should lead to us being able to demonstrate significant improvements in the care we provide.

Patients will be diagnosed and initial treatment commenced more rapidly; if higher dependency care is required I can provide this whilst enabling a safe and timely transfer; staff will feel more supported in managing a critically unwell patient; and hopefully the patients will be reassured that they are getting the best possible care...with a friendly smile along the way!"

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