Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



It’s in your hands - prevent sepsis in health care

The World Health Organisation’s 2018 World Hand Hygiene Day is this Saturday, May 5, and this year’s theme is tackling sepsis.


WHO is calling on health facilities to prevent health care-associated sepsis through hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC) action. Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide. At the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017, Member States adopted a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.


Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection*. If not recognised early and managed promptly, it can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death. It is a serious complication of infection, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where it represents a major cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.


The Hospital Caterers Association named two sepsis charities as the beneficiaries of its fund-raising activities throughout 2018 The Alex Lewis Trust and The UK Sepsis Trust. The Alex Lewis Trust was set up to help fund Alex’s rehabilitation costs after he contracted strep A, septicaemia and necrotising fasciitis, resulting in a quadruple amputation and facial reconstruction. 


During the HCA’s recent Forum, Alex Lewis and a representative from the UK Sepsis Trust both outlined the extent of this condition and its potentially devastating outcomes. It affects 250,000 people annually in the UK and is the second largest cause of death, claiming more lives than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined.


So far the HCA has raised £2,927.28 on its Just Giving page from the 70km Charity Walk in March to celebrate its 70th anniversary and £8,712.28 from the raffle and other events at the Forum.


Health care Associated Infections are common and are a risk factor for developing sepsis but they can be prevented. Effective hand hygiene plays a key role. On world hand hygiene day (May 5, 2018), the focus for everyone should be on prevention of sepsis in health care. 


WHO’s calls to actions are:


* Health workers: “Take 5 Moments to clean your hands to prevent sepsis in health care"


* IPC leaders: “Be a champion in promoting hand hygiene to prevent sepsis in health care”


* Health facility leaders: "Prevent sepsis in health care, make hand hygiene a quality indicator in your hospital”


* Ministries of health: "Implement the 2017 WHA sepsis resolution. Make hand hygiene a national marker of health care quality"


* Patient advocacy groups: "Ask for 5 Moments of clean hands to prevent sepsis in health care"


More information is available on the WHO website, including resources, posters, infographic and educational materials.