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Building Sepsis Awareness

250,000 Americans die of sepsis each year but the government, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in particular, has yet to allocate resources for prevention. The condition is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, killing more each year than AIDS, breast and prostate cancer combined, but the public is largely unaware.
The foundation focuses on educating health professionals about the signs, symptoms and best practices in treatment. Making the signs of sepsis as common to the public as those of stroke and heart attack is an equally important goal. 
“The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) helped lead the way to codify [these regulations] in New York,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said at last month’s forum. “And our members across the country will continue to advance sepsis safeguards. Through our ‘Patients Before Profits’ campaign, AFT health professionals are standing up for high-quality, affordable, accessible care in our communities, including lifesaving solutions to prevent and treat sepsis,” Weingarten added.
Click here to watch video highlights from the forum.
The foundation is promoting a teaching module being piloted with the support of the UFT in several New York schools and focused on identifying the signs of sepsis. The foundation is also concerned with passing legislation requiring states to mandate sepsis protocols in hospitals, making sure all acute care facilities adopt best practices for early identification and treatment.
“Sepsis is an illness that can turn very bad very quickly,” said AFT Connecticut Executive Vice President John Brady, RN. “Appropriate staffing levels are critical to ensure caregivers can pick up on the subtle changes in time to make a difference,” added Brady, who previously worked as a registered nurse in the emergency department at Backus Hospital in Norwich.
Recent studies have found lower nurse staffing levels associated with higher numbers of cases of sepsis and other medical conditions for in-hospital patients. Our member health professionals have long advocated for policies for to ensure adequate nurse staffing in order to both enhance quality of care and produce positive perioperative outcomes.
Click here for our previous report on safe staffing advocacy.
“A union voice allows our member caregivers to speak out for patient and hospital staff safety,” said AFT Connecticut First Vice President Jean Morningstar. “Our partnership with the Rory Staunton Foundation is about how we’re working towards a better future not just for our members but for our communities, too,” added Morningstar, who previously worked at UConn Health in Farmington.
Click here for more on the Rory Staunton Foundation and how to detect the signs of sepsis.

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