Implementation of a MEWS-Sepsis screening tool: Transformational outcomes of a nurse-led evidence-based practice project.

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Nursing forum


BACKGROUND: One in three patients who die in the hospital has sepsis. Alerting clinicians to early detection of high-risk patients before deterioration is a top health care priority. Modified Early Warning Scoring (MEWS) tools have assisted organizations in identifying at-risk patients at the first sign of subtle deterioration.

AIM AND SETTING: In conjunction with an academic-clinical partner, we evaluated, revised and implemented a modified MEWS-Sepsis screening tool in an acute care facility.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and thirty-nine direct-care nurses participated in tool evaluation.

METHODS: Using a plan-do-study-act cycle of quality improvement, critical care scenarios from septic patient data were created and tested in a simulated setting.

RESULTS: Upon implementation of the MEWS-Sepsis tool, the monthly risk-adjusted sepsis mortality rate immediately declined by 24%. The decline in mortality has been sustained from implementation to the present, spanning a 5-year period.

CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of a MEWS-Sepsis screening tool contributed to early identification and implementation of time-sensitive interventions aimed at preventing sepsis-associated deaths. MEWS-Sepsis tools hold potential for scale-up and spreading out of evidence-based practice nursing innovations to transform care, improve patient outcomes, and save lives.


Hospital Medicine