Elizabeth Roebuck
Journal of Paramedic Practice, Vol. 7, Iss. 9, 04 Sep 2015, pp 446 - 452

Background: Previous in-hospital studies have highlighted the opportunity pre-hospital clinicians have to recognise sepsis at an early stage. Left untreated, mortality in septic shock increases rapidly. Sepsis screening tools have been developed to assist recognition; however, current knowledge of sepsis, effectiveness of previous training and attitudes towards implementation of a screening tool is unknown.

Methods: A survey was emailed to 529 paramedics and 131 advanced technicians in the North of England to determine their current knowledge of sepsis, views around previous training and the use of a screening tool. Case studies were included to investigate current management of patients with history of infection.

Results: 144 clinicians completed the survey, gaining a 21.8% response rate. 54% (95% CI 46%, 62%) of clinicians felt like they had good knowledge, leaving 46% of clinicians feeling a lack of knowledge. 94% (95% CI 89%, 97%) thought emergency departments should treat sepsis immediately or within the first hour. Case studies highlighted variability in the management pathways chosen and 98% (95% CI 94%, 99%) of clinicians required further training. 97% (95% CI 92%, 99%) agreed a screening tool would assist in the identification of septic patients and 98% (95% CI 95%, 99%) would use the tool.

Conclusions: Severity level and importance of quick recognition and management are acknowledged among clinicians. Although response rate is a limitation of this study, knowledge levels differentiate greatly among the cohort and nearly all state they require further education. Clinicians agreed a screening tool would help identify septic patients and would use it alongside clinical acumen.

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