Following the mandate set out in Qatar’s National Patient Safety Collaborative (NPSC) to reduce sepsis-related deaths, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is rolling out a standardised care pathway for patients with suspected sepsis across its network of hospitals.

Established in January, NPSC aims to support and encourage a culture of continuous learning, improvement, and safety across the healthcare system in Qatar.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to severe infection damages its own tissues and organs. If not recognised early and managed promptly, it can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure, and death. Dr Ibrahim Fawzy Hassan, Chair of the Sepsis Steering Committee at HMC said that sepsis is a medical emergency. It is also responsible for between six and nine million deaths worldwide every year, many of which are preventable, according to Dr Hassan.

Sepsis can be triggered by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection in any part of the body and the most common causes include pneumonia, as well as abdominal, kidney, and bloodstream infections.’

(Image from NHS Foundation Trust)

According to Dr Hassan, sepsis can be difficult to diagnose because early symptoms can be confused with other conditions, highlighting the need for greater awareness of its causes, signs, and symptoms. Early symptoms of sepsis in older children and adults can include a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature, chills and shivering, confusion, cold or blotchy hands and feet, and not passing as much urine as normal.

New Care Pathway

Sepsis Inside image HMCThe new sepsis care pathway, set to be fully rolled out across HMC this year, aims to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and clinical management of sepsis. It includes key definitions, treatment guidelines, and staff roles and responsibilities when caring for different patient groups such as neonates (newborn babies), children, and adults. The new care pathway will boost the existing sepsis prevention programme, which was launched within HMC last year.

Sepsis was a topic of discussion at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Assembly (Committee A) meetings, held in Geneva last year, which were chaired by Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health. Delegates at the assembly agreed on a resolution to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sepsis, encouraging governments around the world to strengthen policies and care processes in relation to sepsis.

The Ministry of Public Health has mandated that sepsis care forms the foundation for a series of significant health challenges set to be addressed by inter-professional and multi-disciplinary teams working across the public healthcare sector. Clinicians at HMC have worked on a range of quality improvement projects over the past few years, but the ministerial mandate gives rise to a corporate focus on sepsis care. The programme formulates a standardised approach that clinicians take when suspecting the emergence of sepsis in a patient.

According to Dr Hassan, a key component of improving health outcomes for sepsis patients is continuous staff education, training measures, and campaigns that raise public awareness of the issue. He added that if a patient has symptoms of sepsis, the condition is diagnosed through a series of tests including blood tests, x-rays, an ultrasound, CT scans, and kidney and liver function tests.

Because sepsis can begin in different parts of the body, the illness can have many different symptoms with initial warning signs, including rapid breathing and pulse, confusion, fever and chills, a very low body temperature, urinating less frequently, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.’

International best practice approaches to sepsis care and HMC’s own sepsis programme development are featured in a learning session at the upcoming Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare. The session will be jointly presented on 24 March by Professor Kevin Rooney (Professor of Care Improvement, University of the West of Scotland and Faculty Member at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement), Dr Ibrahim Fawzy Hassan, and Dr Ahmed Labib, Senior Consultant and Co-Lead for the Sepsis Programme at HMC.

More details can be found online through this link.