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Catholic Health Services's Mercy Medical Center has become the first hospital in New York Ssate to receive the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of ApprovalÂ® for Sepsis Care. The Gold Seal reflects Mercy’s commitment and dedication to providing the highest standard in sepsis care.
“The Gold Seal is a powerful validation of the quality that reflects Mercy’s ongoing commitment to providing optimal, safe and effective patient care,” said Mercy Medical Center president Peter Scaminaci. “Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical treatment, and I am so proud that Mercy is at the forefront of addressing this serious condition.”
Sepsis happens when an infection you already have - in your skin, lungs, urinary tract or somewhere else - triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. And, in most cases, sepsis occurs even before the patient is admitted to the hospital, underscoring the importance of sepsis education and awareness.
“Mercy recognizes the danger that sepsis presents from an overall public health standpoint and has been working on implementing a robust sepsis care program for the last several years," said Mercy Medical Center’s vice president of performance improvement Catherine Magone RN, MPA, CPHQ. “We have integrated evidence-based clinical practices into the medical management of sepsis and reduced risk in the community by educating our clinical staff and the public about the illness.”
In 2014 Mercy began evaluating ways to improve the recognition, treatments and education of sepsis patients. The hospital formed a sepsis committee, made up of medical staff quality managers, emergency, pharmacy, lab and nursing from various departments. Together, they developed a strategic plan for improvement. The team evaluated timely nursing assessment, early identification of barriers, improving caregiver education and the addressing of medical record challenges.
The sepsis committee took data from the evaluations and proactively developed a Mercy Sepsis Program that implemented an intensive and multidisciplinary education program for clinical staff and their patients. The plan evaluated the most at-risk patients based on extensive data review, customizing the existing sepsis protocol and outlining opportunities on how to reduce the risk of sepsis. Additionally, the plan highlighted the importance of patient engagement and it encouraged and empowered patients to think “could this be sepsis” even before being admitted to the hospital.
The Mercy Sepsis Program required clinical staff to participate in annual multilevel sepsis education. The program also:
- Implemented sepsis rapid response calls
- Designed a nurse’s sepsis worksheet to improve communication from unit-to-unit and nurse-to-nurse
- Used electronic medical records to support the sepsis bundle with early warnings built-in and reminders
- Created an electronic sepsis screen where every patient, every day on every shift is screened for sepsis.
“Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires rapid recognition and treatment to improve patient survival. Lives can be saved by using existing and proven sepsis protocols; therefore, Mercy remains committed to high quality sepsis care for our patients with the goal of decreasing sepsis mortality while increasing sepsis education and patient engagement,” said Mercy Medical Center’s associate director of emergency medicine and co-chair of the Sepsis Committee, Kurt Dischner, MD.
Mercy underwent a rigorous on-site review in December 2018. Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with national disease-specific care standards as well as with sepsis-specific requirements. Clinical practice guidelines and performance measures were also assessed.
Established in 2002 and awarded for a two-year period, The Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Certification evaluates clinical programs across the continuum of care and addresses three core areas:
- Compliance with consensus-based national standards
- Effective use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to manage and optimize care
- An organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities
"Mercy Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated a high level of care for patients with sepsis,” said Patrick Phelan, executive director, Hospital Business Development, The Joint Commission. “We commend Mercy for becoming a leader in sepsis care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for sepsis patients in its community."
Source: Catholic Health Services of Long Island