Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Sepsis is the leading cause of death among hospitalized patients in the United States, is responsible for more than 200,000 deaths annually, and has as high as a 50% mortality rate. Sepsis requires prompt identification so that early goal-directed therapy can be instituted to lead to better outcomes. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to determine if implementing an evidence-based identification and intervention program, Project Code Sepsis, in the emergency department can increase the number of patients who receive antibiotics within the first hour of triage and decrease the length of hospital stay. Specifically, the primary project goals were: (a) to administer initial antibiotic treatments within 1 hour of triage to more than 75% of patients, and (b) to reduce length of hospital stay to an average of less than 7 days. The project was developed from the Donabedian Healthcare Quality Triad and guided by the Six Sigma DMAIC method. A total of 306 patients were included in this project conducted from May to October 2015. The sepsis-screening tool was fully implemented during August when more than 75% of patients received their initial antibiotic within one hour of triage time. However, this accomplishment was not sustained during the next two months. Interestingly, August was also the month with the highest length of hospital stay (7.49 days) among sepsis patients. This quality improvement project did not show that the provision of antibiotic therapy within the first hour of triage time decreases the length of hospital stay among sepsis patients. Multiple factors including administration of intravenous fluids and vasopressors for hypotension, nurse and physician experiences, patient acuity, and local sepsis bacteria profile should be considered together in future studies and quality improvement projects.