Program Elements

The five elements of the SEPSIS KILLS program align with the Between the Flags (BTF) system. They are designed to establish a sustainable Statewide initiative which will deliver improved systems for recognition and response to patients with sepsis.

The five inter-dependent elements of the program are:

  1. Governance: establishment of guidelines for an administrative structure to oversee the implementation and sustainability of the system in the acute hospitals in NSW.
  2. Clinical Emergency Response System (CERS): process for escalation of concern and response to the deteriorating patient with sepsis in every facility.
  3. Sepsis Tools: to guide clinical decision making in parallel with the local CERS.
  4. Education: to ensure appropriate skills and knowledge for the recognition and management of the patient with sepsis.
  5. Evaluation: standard performance indicators to be collected and used to inform users of the system and to guide sepsis recognition and management improvement.

Phased implementation

The program started in May 2011 and has been implemented in 180 NSW public hospital emergency departments. Since it was launched, time to antibiotic administration has greatly improved. Median time to antibiotic administration in NSW public hospital emergency departments has been reduced from more than four hours, to consistently less than sixty minutes.

The inpatient phase of the SEPSIS KILLS program started in 2014 and is focused on improving the recognition and management of sepsis in adults and children in the inpatient wards of public hospitals in NSW. It directly links with the Between the Flags system (BTF), the NSW Health Policy PD2020_018 - Recognition and management of patients who are deteriorating and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care's National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.