EARLY stages in a sepsis awareness trial have already halved death from the common but often misunderstood disease in Ballarat Health Services.
The project is set to roll out hospital wide at the Base from Thursday, coinciding with World Sepsis Day.
BHS medical lead on the project Dr Raquel Cowan said the key message was for both medical staff and the community to know the signs and act fast, as seeking care within 60 minutes makes a dramatic difference in survival.
"The problem is sepsis can be difficult to recognise because the signs and symptoms are so non-specific,” Dr Cowan said. "Sometimes a person feels so bad they do not recognise the symptoms.”
Sepsis is the body's overwhelming response to an infection and can result in multiple organ failure and death. Dr Cowan said people with an immune suppressant, undergoing chemotherapy or those with no spleen.
Sepsis warning signs are: Shortness of breath, Extreme shivering or pain, Passing no urine (in a day), Slurred speech or confusion, Increased heart rate, Skin is very hot or very cool.
Sepsis is a common condition but not well-known. Some people may have heard about it but don't know what it means. Even people who have had it before.BHS project lead Megan Youngson
Almost 29,000 patients were diagnosed with at least one of the sepsis codes in Victoria last year and 11 per cent died in hospital. There are varying practices in responding to sepsis across the state's health services.
BHS is one of 11 health services to take part in the Better Care Victoria Sepsis Scaling Collaboration Project to promote early recognition and timely care in adults.
Ballarat's project lead Megan Youngson said national awareness on sepsis was growing, but there was a long way to go.
“Sepsis is a common condition but not well-known,” Ms Youngson said. “Some people may have heard about it but don't know what it means. Even people who have had it before.”
BHS is hosting a “double FAST” education session on stroke and sepsis at the Base Hospital on October 1.