Sepsis and Barbara

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This portfolio will provide evidence of my experience in an acute care setting. I will provide an appendix giving a brief summary of a patient I cared for whilst undertaking a placement in an acute setting. This portfolio of evidence will be based on a patient diagnosed with sepsis secondary to her chest infection. I will discuss extensively the aetiology, pathophysiology and clinical features of a patient presenting with sepsis treated in an acute care setting. I will explore the role of the different healthcare professionals that were involved in the care of the patient describing how they contributed to her holistic care. I will incorporate evidence base supporting the approach used by the doctors, nurses and microbiologists in the diagnosing and caring for the patient. I will equally evaluate practice using findings from contemporary research policy and practice on the care of the adult with acute care needs. I will also discuss the value of our practice in accordance with professional, ethical and legal frameworks that ensure the privacy of the patient’s interest and well-being. Finally, I will conclude by summarising this portfolio of evidence in relation to acute care practices and focus on identifying my future learning needs in developing myself personally and my professional practice.

It is indicated by Latto (2011) that a meeting between The American College of Chest Physicians and the Society of Critical Care Medicine in 1991 brought about the use of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) to define sepsis. SIRS being manifestation of two or more of certain medical signs including, a temperature of less than 36 degrees Celsius or greater than 38 degrees Celsius, a heart rate of over 90 beats per minute, respiratory rate of over 20 breaths per minute and white blood cells count of greater than 12000 or less than 4000. Further on to recognise sepsis, a patient has to have at least two signs of SIRS as well as a documented infection.  

Sepsis, as defined by Matot and Sprung, (2001) “is the systemic inflammatory response to infection.” In addition to this definition, Herwald and Egesten (2011) indicate that sepsis could also be defined as the existence of bacteria or other micro-organisms in the blood, hypotension or shock. Rello, Diaz and Rodríguez (2009) emphasise that there is a difference between sepsis and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) as sepsis is systemic inflammatory response to infection while systemic inflammatory response syndrome is a tool used to simplify the diagnosis of sepsis.   

Sepsis occurs as a result of the body fighting infection that has spread though the body via the blood stream as defined by Sepsis Alliance UK (2012). Barbara presented with low blood pressure, a high temperature, tachycardia and an increased respiratory rate. Patients who present with sepsis can progress to severe sepsis which is defined by Marini and Wheeler (2010) as “a syndrome caused by infection and defined by the presence of vital sign abnormalities and new organ system failure caused by the ensuing inflammation and coagulation.” Associated with severe sepsis, there are three integrated responses as explained by Kleinpell, R. (2003) which are; activation of inflammation, activation of coagulation, and impairment of fibrinolysis.  

As the body detects infection, its natural response is inflammation. “Inflammation is a response of a tissue to injury, often injury caused by invading pathogens. It is characterized by increased blood flow to the tissue causing increased temperature, redness, swelling, and pain.” Kleinpell (2003).  

Ball (2011) in describing the process of inflammation in the body explains that inflammation occurs due to the white blood cells releasing pro-inflammatory mediators called cytokines these are proteins, peptides, or glycoproteins which include tumour necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1 and interleukin-6, the white blood cells also releases a platelet-activating...
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