A new initiative to halt the development of a life threatening infection in older people with mental health problems has been launched at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
To mark World Sepsis Day on Thursday, new medical boxes have been introduced on the Maelor Hospital’s Heddfan Older Person’s Mental Health Unit, which contain the vital medical equipment required to halt the spread of the deadly infection.
Sepsis is a life-threatening complication which develops when chemicals produced by the immune system to fight an infection instead cause inflammation throughout the body. Without early treatment, sepsis can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and even death.
The condition affects approximately 150,000 people every year in the UK, and results in an estimated 44,000 deaths – more than the number caused by bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined.
The medical boxes contain all of the vital medical equipment Heddfan Unit staff need to start the sepsis 6 pathway, which set out the interventions needed to reduce mortality in patients with the condition.
This equipment includes blood taking equipment; blood culture pack and bottles; cannulation pack and cannulas; emergency blood forms and bags; a high flow oxygen mask; blood gas sampling syringes; and a fluid balance chart.
The boxes were introduced by Dr Christopher McKeown, a Speciality Doctor in Older Person’s Mental Health, and Richard Moore, Deputy Ward Manager and Advanced Nurse Practitioner trainee. Both are based at the Heddfan Unit.
Dr McKeown said: “Any patient group can develop sepsis, and elderly patients suffering with mental health problems can also develop infection that can lead to this life-threatening condition. It’s vital that we recognise the signs of Sepsis quickly and act accordingly.
“Mental health units are not an appropriate place to deal with sepsis, and patients must be transferred rapidly over to the main hospital for further management. This currently requires a blue light ambulance to the Emergency Department.
“The introduction of the sepsis medical boxes will enable us to use time as efficiently as possible, by commencing the sepsis six protocol immediately. This will include blood sampling, blood cultures, IV cannulation fluid balance charts and high flow oxygen if needed. As sepsis is time sensitive, every minute counts. The more we can achieve before the patient arrives in the Emergency Department, the better.”
Picture (c) Wrexham Maelor Hospital.