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Sepsis Six update: immediate attendance by senior clinician is made top priority

Sepsis screening tool has changed – find out what this means for nurses
illustration shows bloodstream where sepsis is occurring

Sepsis screening tool has changed find out what this means for nurses

The Sepsis Six screening tool has been updated to help nurses and other healthcare staff recognise sepsis more quickly and boost survival rates.

The tool is a set of six actions to be completed within one hour of sepsis being suspected in patients over 12 years.

It advises all clinical staff to ensure a senior clinician attends the patient, and places greater emphasis on ongoing monitoring.

Early input from senior clinicians

Other existing elements of the tool, for example obtaining IV access and taking bloods, have been combined into one step.

Georgina Taylor, lecturer in adult nursing for University of Wolverhampton and clinical educator for the UK Sepsis Trust said the tool empowers clinical staff to ensure someone senior attends the patient

Sepsis screening tool has changed – find out what this means for nurses


Picture: iStock

The Sepsis Six screening tool has been updated to help nurses and other healthcare staff recognise sepsis more quickly and boost survival rates.

The tool is a set of six actions to be completed within one hour of sepsis being suspected in patients over 12 years.

It advises all clinical staff to ensure a senior clinician attends the patient, and places greater emphasis on ongoing monitoring.

Early input from senior clinicians 

Other existing elements of the tool, for example obtaining IV access and taking bloods, have been combined into one step.

Georgina Taylor, lecturer in adult nursing for University of Wolverhampton and clinical educator for the UK Sepsis Trust said the tool ‘empowers clinical staff to ensure someone senior attends the patient immediately’.

Read RCNi’s sepsis resource collection 

‘We still give oxygen as appropriate, we obtain access and take bloods collectively now including blood cultures, lactate and routine bloods, we give IV antibiotics and IV fluids,’ Ms Taylor said.

‘We use NEWS 2 [national early warning score] to measure urine output and repeat lactate if it was initially elevated or if a patient’s clinical condition changes.’


UK Sepsis Trust

The biggest change since Sepsis Six was introduced

Chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust and Global Sepsis Alliance Ron Daniels said the it was biggest change to the Sepsis Six since it was introduced in 2006.

‘The changes bring to the fore urgent assessment by a senior clinician – a health professional with the experience and clinical gestalt necessary to identify conditions that may mimic sepsis, coordinate care between disciplines, and plan and supervise ongoing care,’ Dr Daniels said.

Survival rates from sepsis have risen from around 70% in 2009 to 80% in 2019.

However, figures show that more than 250,000 people in the UK are affected by sepsis each year, of whom at least 52,000 will die.


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