IWK implements new system to better protect children against sepsis

Click to play video: 'IWK health centre introducing new screening tool for sepsis in children' IWK health centre introducing new screening tool for sepsis in children
Wed, Nov 8: The IWK Health Centre in Halifax announced this week that they’re introducing new screening tools for sepsis, one of the leading causes of death in children worldwide. Jennifer Grudic has more on the signs and symptoms of the deadly condition – Nov 8, 2017

The IWK Health Care Centre in Halifax now has a new line of defence when it comes to protecting children and infants against sepsis.

This week they introduced the TREKK Sepsis PedsPac, a standardised screening tool that can help better identify the signs of the potentially deadly condition.

READ MORE: Sepsis kills thousands every year. And B.C. scientists are leading the fight to treat it

“I think the trouble with sepsis is that the clues very early on can be really subtle and there can be an overlap with a lot of common things that we see,” said Dr. Shannon MacPhee, Chief Emergency Medicine at the IWK.

“We know if we’re extra diligent and we’re really keeping our eyes open that there may be subtle clues and we’re able to get the treatment in faster to have better outcomes for those patients.”

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Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body, potentially leading to organ damage and other complications.

READ MORE: What you need to know about sepsis, septic shock and stem cells

According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, one in 18 deaths in Canada involved sepsis.

It is also among the leading cause of death in infants and children worldwide.

Under the new PedsPac guidelines, triage nurses have a clear, step-by-step algorithm to help treat early symptoms before they escalate.

READ MORE: Saskatoon family warns of ‘terrifying’ sepsis condition

“It’s really important that we pick up on the clues early,” said Lois Wyatt, Clinical Leader, Development in the IWK Emergency Department.

“Early recognition, early treatment and these cognitive aids will help us direct care in a standardised fashion so that all of the triage nurses are looking off the same tool.”

The goal is to roll out this screening process in medical centres throughout Nova Scotia in an effort to provide standardised care in both rural and urban settings.

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