Sepsis and Septic Shock

Sepsis Awareness Month Resources 2021

Sepsis Information

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection, also referred to as immune system dysregulation. Septic shock is characterized by significant drop in blood pressure and may lead to organ failure and death. Rapid identification and treatment of sepsis in the emergency department and inpatient setting is critical for reducing sepsis mortality. Knowing the signs and symptoms of sepsis, such as change in temperature, mental decline and extreme pain can help clinical teams determine when to activate sepsis protocols. Hospital implementation of sepsis ordersets, response teams (“code sepsis”) and antibiotic de-escalation are improving mortality and long-term recovery for patients post-sepsis.

Evidence-based protocols for rapid and effective treatment of patients identified with sepsis and septic shock have been effective in improving care and outcomes for patients with sepsis. The Washington State Hospital Association, in an effort to provide additional guidance and support, provides education and training events throughout the year – bringing in local and national experts to share their research and knowledge about best practice.

Getting Started

In addition to individual consultation, WSHA provides education and training events throughout the year – bringing in local and national experts to share their research and knowledge about best practice.

Join Our Collaborative

The Sepsis Treatment and Recovery (STAR) Network is a collaborative that began in January 2020, with the goals of improving sepsis care, transitions of care, and reducing sepsis readmissions across the Pacific Northwest. Through bi-monthly educational webinars, networking and implementing targeted interventions at your organization, the STAR Network will guide hospitals through targeted performance improvement projects in sepsis care.  Please email to sign up for the STAR Network.

Know Your Numbers

Track volume of sepsis patients treated by your facility. Data is available through WSHA’s DASH platform and based on hospital discharge data. Your individual report will display sepsis diagnosis and sepsis mortality by month benchmarked to similar facilities in Washington State. See the Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Mortality: Definition Sheet.  Please email if you wish to have access to the DASH platform.

Implement Sepsis Protocols

Ensure your hospital is prepared to rapidly identify and treat patients with suspected sepsis.  National guidelines developed by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign recommend treatment begin immediately and will likely involve fluid resuscitation, vasopressors and broad-spectrum antibiotics. Successful implementation includes team-based care, tracking systems and coordination with pharmacists. WSHA provides consultation for developing and implementing sepsis protocols, ensuring timely care and CMS payment.

Plan Transitions

Take care to educate and assist patients preparing to discharge from the hospital following a sepsis event. Sepsis is the most common diagnosis related to readmission, and patients are susceptible to experiencing post-sepsis syndrome. Home assessments, caretaker education and non-clinical support may be needed to prevent readmissions.

Raise Awareness

Early detection of sepsis both in the hospital and in the community are key to saving lives.  There are several toolkits available with resources for educating hospital staff, patients, and families.


Expert Guidance

Research and policy continue to inform clinical practice. Below is important guidance from leading organizations for facilities implementing sepsis care models.

  •  The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) created a Sepsis Training Suite including pediatrics sepsis information.

Implementation Tools

Toolkits and staff resources are freely available from the following sites:

Patient Education

General education for patients regarding sepsis is needed to promote engagement in care planning. The links below provide ready-made tools for patients and caregivers.

Pacific Northwest Sepsis Conference Documents and Resources

Beginning in 2021, the Washington State Hospital Association assumed management of the Pacific Northwest Sepsis Conference from UW Medicine.  UW Medicine remains a partner with WSHA on the conference as well as several other hospitals and health systems in the Puget Sound and WAMI regions.  Information on the conference is here.  Information on the planning committee is here.


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Washington State Hospital Association
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