Cookeville Regional hosts THA Sepsis Conference

Darren Ford, CCP deputy chief Putnam County EMS, spoke on the role EMS has in combating sepsis.

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

COOKEVILLE – On Friday, June 21, Cookeville Regional Medical Center hosted the third annual Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) Sepsis Conference with over 80 attendees from across the state.

Sepsis is a serious infection of the blood or tissues that affects the entire body. The condition can quickly become life-threatening, causing blood pressure to drop, often sending patients into shock.  Now, hospitals across the state have come to Cookeville Regional to hear speakers present on topics that are related to the latest happenings in sepsis care. 

“There continues to be a high demand for knowledge on sepsis,” said Angela Craig, RN, clinical nurse specialist for ICU and sepsis team leader and facilitator for the sepsis conference at Cookeville Regional. “We are honored to have medical centers and medical professionals throughout the state here at Cookeville Regional so we can continue to be proactive in the treatment of sepsis.” 

Participants covered a wide range of topics throughout the day including the nonclinical side of sepsis, management of sepsis in a rural hospital, interdisciplinary communication to improve outcomes, how to treat before a patient is transferred and what can EMS do to combat sepsis.

Darren Ford, CCP deputy chief Putnam County EMS, spoke on the role EMS has in combating sepsis. 

“For so long it was considered it was an in-hospital problem,” Ford said. “Well now we’re finding ways to integrate EMS. Our EMS here in Putnam County is now giving antibiotics. We’re giving blood cultures. We’re doing some of the stuff that’s normally done in the hospital. We’re doing that to help patients, to help the hospital and to make things better overall.”

Presenters represent several medical facilities throughout the state, including University of Tennessee Medical Center, Johnson City Medical Center, Maury Regional Medical Center, Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Starr Regional Medical Center and Putnam County EMS. 

In 2015, Cookeville Regional was the first hospital in the state of Tennessee to become disease-specific certified in sepsis by The Joint Commission. Cookeville Regional continued their standards of care for sepsis and received a re-certification by The Joint Commission in 2017 and, most recently, February 2019. 

“I’ve always wanted us to be leaders in sepsis and I feel like we are, so I feel we need to share that,” explained Craig when asked why Cookeville Regional started this conference. “Some places are just not as eager to share information, but I said, ‘you know what, let’s just step out and see if people would want to come.’ We’ve had really great turnouts all three times. People all across the state just wanting to get more information.

“We continue to strive for excellence in this area that is really a difficult area at times, but we continue to work toward making it better,” added Craig.

Betty Ealey, RN, Sepsis Abstractor for Cookeville Regional Medical Center answers questions for the Ask The Abstractor session of the Sepsis conference. Next to her is Angela Craig APN,MS,CCNS, Clinical Nurse Specialist for ICU and Sepsis Facilitator for Cookeville Regional.

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