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World Sepsis Day celebration at VGH Acute Medicine units!


Bhavina Kuber, Jenifer Tabamo, Russell Flores, April Arevalo and Silvia Nobrega

​Last Friday, September 13, 2019 marked “World Sepsis Day" (WSD), and Vancouver General Hospital's (VGH) Acute Medicine Team, in collaboration with BC Sepsis Network, participated in this global movement.

Sepsis is the body's extreme response to an infection and is a burgeoning health concern. It is life-threatening, and without timely treatment, it can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and possibly death.

In 2015, VGH, in collaboration with BC Sepsis Network, led the development of inpatient sepsis tools tailored towards clinicians in facilitating early sepsis recognition, and standardized therapy, the first of its kind in BC.​

But with significant work that still needed to be done, Jenifer Tabamo, Clinical Nurse Specialist for VGH Medicine program, pledged to figure out how to reconnect the sepsis work with patients and families that have lived experience of sepsis. She submitted a successful proposal for the VCH/PHC Knowledge Translation Challenge on “Sepsis Initiative: Partnering with patients and families in sepsis care" and started the journey of developing sepsis education tools. She collaborated with CEAN and had Lori Pedersen as her patient partner. The project plan was conducted in 3 phases:

  1. Engaging patients and families in informing and co-developing sepsis patient education tools (patient and family interviews)

  2. Collaborating with school-aged children in simplifying and using plain language within sepsis patient education tools (hands-on fun workshops with school-aged children)

  3. Enhancing bedside teaching and maximizing "teachable moments" in sepsis care (staff focus groups)

 As a result, Jenifer spearheaded the new provincial Sepsis Pamphlet​ for patients and families and it was launched just in time for WSD! Valuable guests such as Dr. David Sweet, provincial clinical lead for Sepsis, Dr. Maura MacPhee, UBC School of Nursing academic mentor, and Yasaman August, new Operations Director for Medicine Program, were present to support WSD celebration.

Aside from that, the Acute Medicine team has been preparing for WSD since early June. Nurse Clinician Bhavina Kuber, and Clinical Nurse Educator Silvia Nobrega have facilitated “Sepsis Kahoots," a gamified learning strategy using smart​phones to respond to multiple choice questions. “We do Sepsis Kahoots for about 10-15 minutes during our afternoon staff huddles as it fits the fast-paced clinical environment of busy clinicians. It has been very exciting. and I can't believe there is a palpable culture shift in sepsis awareness, recognition and prompt treatment," Bhavina voiced. “Engaging our staff this way helps apply knowledge of Sepsis into practice," Silvia added.

Acute Medicine Patient Care Coordinator April Arevalo, on the other hand,​ led the “My Sepsis Story" (MSS)." 

“The MSS encourages point-of-care staff to share their profound experiences on caring for patients with sepsis. We would like to spread awareness and learn from each other," April explained. There are lots of different styles and approaches on how they each shared their stories. RN Nicole Hawken even composed a "Sepsis soliloquy." RN Russell Flores utilized the Critical Care Outreach Team (CCOT) in escalating his findings. RN Savannah Jularbal brought humour into her story and fashioned herself into a "sepsis ninja". RN Tony Choi garnered the most reactions and comments as his humility and vulnerability were weaved through his touching story.

To continue with Acute Medicine's goal of creating a "Centre of Excellence in Sepsis Care," next steps are already in order. The team will be using technology (iPads) to improve well-being of hospitalized patients, and are developing “My Sepsis Volunteer program" to help bring comforting music using portable musical instruments at the bedside. So please stay tuned!​

SOURCE: World Sepsis Day celebration at VGH Acute Medicine units! ( )
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