Athena Forum Offers New Course in Sepsis Management

Recognizing a pressing need to raise awareness about sepsis, Athena Forum’s newest course educates case managers and social workers about this medical emergency.

Rockville, MD, March 29, 2013 --( Case managers nationwide can take advantage of a new course from Athena Forum in sepsis management. Called Improving Outcomes in Sepsis Care and Resource Management, the course is designed to give case managers in hospitals and managed care organizations a thorough understanding of the issues related to the management of this deadly infection.

The purpose of the course is to educate case managers and social workers about the early warning signs of sepsis to help them identify patients who are predisposed to septicemia and to recognize the infection’s subtle symptoms. It is also designed to empower case managers to intervene and support the efforts of members of the health care team.

Sepsis is a toxic response to infection that kills 258,000 Americans each year, according to the Sepsis Alliance. A medical emergency, sepsis requires early detection and treatment for survival. Given the deadly and fast-moving nature of the condition, there is a pressing need to raise awareness of sepsis by educating patients, families, and health care professionals about the need to treat the condition as a medical emergency, the alliance says.

“Case Managers need to understand the full spectrum of steps required to manage patients with this deadly condition,” says Debra Siela, DNSc, RN, CCNS, APRN, BC, CCRN, RRT, Athena Forum’s sepsis course director. An associate professor of nursing in the Ball State University School of Nursing, Siela believes many case managers are unaware of the risk factors for sepsis. As a result, they often do not manage patients with sepsis appropriately.
“That’s why this course is so important for case managers,” Siela comments. “We need to get the word out to case managers and to all providers about the need to act quickly and appropriately whenever sepsis is suspected.”

In this course, case managers will learn how to asses the pathophysiology of sepsis and the economics associated with resource utilization. They will also learn to work in interdiscinplinary teams to address the risk factors with patients and family members.

Knowledgeable case managers are uniquely positioned to follow the spectrum of sepsis patient care and proactively support the efforts of the transdisciplinary team in advocating for evidence-based, best practice interventions.

Sepsis can be caused by an infection in virtually any part of the body. Surgical interventions and co-morbid conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, can predispose patients to the condition. In about 20% of cases the source of the sepsis is never found.

A life-threatening bacterial infection that gets worse quickly, sepsis is the most common killer in intensive care units, according to a recent report in The New York Times. The death rate from sepsis is higher than that of breast and lung cancer and stroke combined. Each year, sepsis affects about 750,000 patients and is associated with about 215,000 deaths, researchers say.

About Athena Forum is a 4,000-page online course curriculum awarding 400 continuing education units for nurses, social workers, and case managers (ACM and CCM). All coursework is designed to improve the performance of case management teams, and all courses are managed by nationally recognized experts.

Case Managers Report the Following Benefits from Contracting with Athena Forum:
• Elevated core competencies of case managers
• Improved patient outcomes and transitions of care
• Reduced readmission risks
• Improved claims management
• Fewer avoidable delays.
Athena Forum
Joe Kowal
Tom Rasmussen