WCH receives IHA Partners in Progress Award

Washington County Hospital has been recognized for its commitment to patient safety and quality with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) Innovation Challenge: Partners in Progress Aware from IHA’s Institute for Innovations in Care and Quality. The Partners in Progress Innovation Challenge helps support the mission of the Great Lakes Partners for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) mission to reduce harm through impactful organizational innovation that can be implemented at other hospitals and health systems across the state.

“IHA and its more than 200 hospitals and nearly 50 health system members are dedicated to advancing person-centered health care through evidence-based quality and safety initiatives and innovative programs that can measurably strengthen health and healthcare for all Illinoisans,” said A.J. Wilhelmi, IHA President and CEO.

“The IHA Innovation Challenge: Partners in Progress Awards highlight innovations that can lead to better outcomes both locally and statewide,” said Helga Brake, Vice President of Quality, Safety and Health Policy, IHA. “Improving the healthcare system is a team effort, and we hope that hospitals in Illinois and elsewhere can use these patient safety initiatives as a starting point for their own quality improvement projects.”

Sue Drabing, Vice President of Provider Services at MEDS, shared, “ensuring providers and the nursing team are educated to recognize the signs and symptoms of sepsis is crucial in the rapid treatment and for the best possible outcome for the patient. MEDS providers are currently providing 24/7 Emergency Care and managing Inpatients at Washington County Hospital in collaboration with SSM Telehospitalists.

Sepsis is an infection that can develop quickly and rapidly worsen.  It is a medical emergency that can be life threatening if left untreated.  The CDC states that more than 1.5 million people get sepsis each year in the U.S. and at least 250,000 Americans die from sepsis each year.  The initiative that we have implemented at Washington County Hospital starts with early recognition of sepsis and rapid treatment. To give our patients the highest chance of survival we have implemented a process that starts with early identification of changes in vital signs, with close monitoring of blood pressure.  We also check lab values for elevated white blood count (WBC) and elevated lactic acid levels.  Once antibiotic is started we have implemented a hard stop at 48 hours to reassess that the patient is receiving the correct type, dose and duration of antibiotic therapy.  Some of the signs of sepsis are confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath, high heart rate, fever, shivering or feeling cold, extreme pain or discomfort and clammy or sweaty skin.  Some people are at a higher risk of infections and sepsis per the CDC:  adults 65 or older, those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, kidney disease, those with weakened immune systems and children younger than one. If you suspect you have sepsis, immediately seek medical attention.