Medical Care

Better Care Needed for Sepsis Patients

Health-care practitioners need to provide more individualized care to patients who have suffered sepsis so they won’t have to be readmitted to a hospital, researchers said.

A study published in JAMA looked at data from 2,6000 survivors of sepsis, a critical illness that shuts down internal organs following an infection. About 42 percent of the patients returned to the hospital within three months.

The investigators said they found that patients who had survived sepsis were significantly more likely to get readmitted for a condition that could possibly have been prevented or treated earlier. These patients were especially likely to return to the hospital for a second bout of sepsis, or kidney or lung failure. They also had more hospitalizations because of infections.

What’s needed, researchers said, is estimating each patient’s risk of preventable conditions before they leave the hospital. “Many of these conditions can be managed if the patient can get in to see a doctor at the start of the illness, meaning that we potentially avoid hospitalization,” said Hallie Prescott, M.D., M.Sc., the lead author of the new paper and a critical care physician at the University of Michigan Health System. “We need to assess their vulnerability and design a better landing pad for patients when they leave the hospital, and avoid the second hit that derails recovery.”

“Getting on the right medications and diet, receiving counseling on infection risks and signs, and having kidney function tested more often could be examples of post-hospital interventions that sepsis survivors could benefit more from,” Prescott added.

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