University of Michigan Post ICU Longitudinal Survivor Experience (UM-PULSE)

UM-PULSE, Sepsis Heroes, Sepsis HeroThe multidisciplinary University of Michigan Post ICU Longitudinal Survivor Experience (UM-PULSE) clinic was selected as a 2018 Sepsis Hero in recognition for the clinic’s work in recognizing that many sepsis survivors need help after their discharge from the hospital.

Many sepsis survivors who are treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) are left with cognitive, mental, and physical difficulties. Now called post-sepsis syndrome, this condition is not yet well recognized and Sepsis Alliance congratulates the UM-PULSE clinic for being at the forefront of post-sepsis care.

The multidisciplinary clinic is directed by three physicians with specialties in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases, and critical care: Dr. Jack Iwashyna, Dr. Hallie Prescott, and Dr. Jakob McSparron. Dr. Iwashyna and Dr. Prescott are internationally recognized thought leaders on the long-term impact of critical illness on patients and caregivers, with a particular interest in the long-term impact of sepsis. The core clinical team at the PULSE Clinic are Dr. Jacob McSparron (an internist), Dr. Rima Mohammed (a pharmacist), and Ms. Mari Pitcher (a social worker).  They are supported by ICU nursing, nutrition, physical therapy, the chaplaincy, and pet therapy.

“The post-intensive care unit clinic that we’ve set up is a relatively new program here at the University of Michigan, and there’s a handful of them across the country,” Dr. McSparron explained. “But we’ve really, even in a very short time, been excited about the support that we’re providing for the patients who survive critical illness, and many of these patients are sepsis survivors.”

The team recognized that post-sepsis care was a gap after discharge. ICU staff is always happy to see patients discharged and moved to lower acuity care, but then they usually don’t know what the final outcomes are. “There’s growing research, a lot of it by Jack and Hallie, that suggests we have to keep an eye on these people. Many of them are not doing well and really need support so just making it out of the ICU is really just the beginning.”

The clinic also works to reduce the risk of sepsis patients being readmitted to the hospital. Sepsis is the leading cause of hospital readmission, with 19% of patients hospitalized with sepsis returning to the hospital within 30 days of their discharge.

Dr. McSparron and his colleagues want to expand the team further to include other healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists and occupational therapists.