Rooks County Health Center

Rooks County Health CenterSepsis Alliance recognized Rooks County Health Center as a 2018 Sepsis Hero for the facility’s great work in improving sepsis treatment and outcomes for patients in their area.

Rooks County Health Center is a 20-bed Critical Access Hospital in rural Plainville, Kansas. Prior to the implementation of their sepsis protocol, Rooks County Health Center staff frequently did not pick up on patients who were presenting with early signs of sepsis. The state of Kansas has a mortality rate due to sepsis as high as 50%, much greater than the mortality rates for heart attacks (9.6%) or strokes (9.3%).

Accepting the Sepsis Hero award on behalf of Rooks County Health Center will be Stephanie Bjornstad, RN, the quality coordinator/risk manager, and Pam Harmon, RN, chief nursing officer. After hearing Sepsis Alliance CMO Steve Simpson, MD, speak about sepsis, Stephanie and her colleagues realized something needed to be done about sepsis in their facility. After meeting with hospital staff from various departments, they began looking back at previous patients to see if they met sepsis criteria, and if so did the staff catch it. The results were not good.

After work on sepsis education began and the sepsis code was implemented and tweaked, results were immediately obvious. “We went from not recognizing sepsis to easily being able to recognize sepsis and have our lactate and blood cultures drawn, fluid bolus, and broad-spectrum antibiotics going all within an hour,” Stephanie explains. “I don’t know how to measure the lives that have been saved, but I know they have to be many! These are our family, friends, neighbors, and teachers. They are more than just patients to us.”

Being named a Sepsis Hero means the world to the facility, says Stephanie. “I think my heart was pounding for about 3 days! One of our strategic goals is to receive local, state, and national recognition. My administrator and board couldn’t be more proud. And our front-line staff should be very proud too. They are the ones who are able to pull this off day after day. We have a great staff!”