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Taking sepsis advice out on the road

Marking World Sepsis Day  the Sepsis Lead Nurse at Sherwood Forest NHS Foundation Trust in Nottinghamshire explains her work with the Trust’s Learning Disability Specialist Nurse to ensure people with a learning disability, autism or both have the same access to information:

Our Trust has been doing a lot of work looking at how we care for and support people with a learning disability, autism or both when they come into hospital.

We have made changes to the way we do some things to make sure that environments and information are as accessible as possible and that all staff are appropriately trained by experts and there is a person-centred approach to people’s care and treatment needs.

The Trust has several learning disability champions who help us give support, guidance and advice to people within their own clinical areas.

As World Sepsis Day approached this year we decided to do something to raise awareness of this very serious condition among people with a learning disability, autism or both and their families and carers.

As the recent LeDeR report demonstrated, for people with a learning disability infections and sepsis are the biggest causes of people dying early, so we wanted to help people have more knowledge about how to prevent infections and how to spot the signs and symptoms of sepsis developing.

To do this we are heading out of the hospital and into our local community on World Sepsis Day.

Rather than manning a stall in the hospital foyer, we are going to local day centres who provide support to a wide group of people, covering an age range of nineteen upwards. We will be talking to service users, carers, families and anyone else who will listen to us with a fun and interactive roadshow.

We are going to talk to people about how they can help themselves not get an infection and how to look after themselves if they do get one.  We will also tell people about sepsis, what it is and how to spot the signs of it.

To help more people we have also produced a leaflet which gives people similar advice, including how to take their antibiotics properly and when to seek more help if they don’t get better.

The leaflet has been well received but we knew that not everyone could read this type of information and we wanted people with a learning disability, autism or both or other complex care needs to be able to get the same information as everyone else.

To make sure the leaflet was developed in the right way Ruth worked with the hospital’s learning disability service user steering group and the final easy-read leaflet is now available across the East Midlands region for hospitals, clinics and primary care centres to use.

This means everyone in our region has access to the same information wherever they live and we are confident that by giving people resources and tools in a way they understand helps them have more control of their own care needs and encourages them to participate.

We hope this work will mean fewer local people with a learning disability will come into hospital with sepsis in the future

Paula Evans

Paula Evans works for Sherwood Forest NHS Foundation Trust which provides hospital services for 420,000 people across Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark, Sherwood and parts of Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

Paula has been a sepsis nurse since 2012 providing direct clinical support to teams caring for people with complex infections and sepsis. She also works with both primary and secondary care teams to improve sepsis care at a strategic level.

Ruth Harrison

Ruth Harrison is a learning disability nurse and busy mum of three with a long history of working with people with complex care needs from day services, private and forensic sector and within NHS primary and acute care trusts.

She now provides direct support in clinical situations but also works at a strategic level to develop improvement plans and monitor progress. Ruth is passionate about equality and the positives of ability rather than the negatives of disability.

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