Now that you or someone you care about has survived sepsis, you may have many questions about what comes next. According to statistics, there are more than 1.4 million sepsis survivors every year in the United States alone. Many who survive are left with life-changing challenges.
Some of the long-lasting effects of sepsis are obvious, such as missing limbs or organ dysfunction, like kidney failure. How long it takes for the body’s organs to begin working properly again varies widely between people. Other after effects of sepsis are less obvious, such as memory loss or the inability to do simple arithmetic.
There is so much that we don’t know yet about sepsis and we don’t have many hard answers. But as sepsis becomes more present in the news and as more people ask and talk about it, using the word, it is being noticed. As attention increases, through efforts by the general public and by Sepsis Alliance, we will get more answers.
In September 2010, the Society of Critical Care Medicine in the United States held a conference to discuss issues relating to rehabilitation for patients recovering from severe illnesses, like sepsis. Dr. Carl Flatley, founder of Sepsis Alliance, participated. The rehabilitation – or after care – is needed not only in the hospital environment, but at home as part of community care.
Through conferences like this, experts are learning about how survivors need to be helped following critical illnesses. As medical technology improves and saves more lives, this issue will only continue to grow.
The conference participants concluded that there is an urgent need to address the long-term needs of survivors of severe illnesses, like sepsis, for both the patients and their families. This includes raising awareness and education, identifying barriers that may get in the way of post-intensive care rehabilitation, and identifying research gaps and resources that need to be addressed in order to improve long-term care for survivors.
Here are some of the more common issues and questions that are asked by people who have had sepsis or who know someone who had it.
Life After Sepsis
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Life After Sepsis FAQs
- What is meant by rehabilitation?
- What will happen when I get home?
- How will I feel when I get home?
- What might help me once I get home?
- Are there any long-term problems I may have after sepsis?
- I used to be very active but since I have had sepsis, I am continually exhausted. I can’t enjoy many of the things I used to. Will I ever feel the energy I had before I became ill?
- My mom was always very sharp mentally but after she had sepsis, she became much more forgetful and we worry about her living alone in her home. Is this normal?
Now that you or someone you care about has survived sepsis, you may have many questions about what comes next.
There are more than 1.6 million cases of sepsis every year and survivors often face long-term effects post-sepsis, including amputations, anxiety, memory loss, chronic pain and fatigue, and more. Almost 60% of sepsis survivors experience worsened cognitive (mental) and/or physical function. Many sepsis survivors also require rehospitalization. Over 62% of people who had a primary diagnosis of sepsis (the reason why they were hospitalized in the first place) who had to be readmitted to the hospital were rehospitalized within 30 days of first leaving the hospital. And among children, almost half who have had severe sepsis end up being hospitalized again.
There are several commonly asked questions in the FAQ section of the website. Many are about life after sepsis.
Sepsis Alliance has put together a letter that may help explain to healthcare professionals the impact of PSS. If you believe that this letter can help, you can print it out here.
How You Can Help
Volunteering for Sepsis Alliance is a great way for people to become involved in the promotion of sepsis awareness.
Are you interested in hosting a fundraising event to help raise funds for and awareness of Sepsis Alliance? If so, we’d love to hear from you!
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