New York State Office For The Aging Partners With Sepsis Alliance And Boston University School Of Social Work's Center For Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) Launch Free Training Video To Educate The Public About Sepsis And Its Devastating Impact On Older Adults
Older Adults Are 13 Times Higher Risk of Developing Sepsis
Training Video Will Help Providers, Caregivers, and the General Public Identify Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis
Albany, NY—The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) today announced a partnership with the Sepsis Alliance and Boston University School of Social Work's Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) to educate providers, caregivers, and the general public about the devastating impact of sepsis. The video will help raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of sepsis and help mitigate poor outcomes and death. Sepsis is a word that is not familiar to nearly one-third of the population. Those who have heard about sepsis are usually unable to identify the signs, symptoms, or other basic information about it.
Sepsis, the body's overwhelming response to infection, kills someone in the U.S. every two minutes, hospitalizes someone every 20 seconds, and is the leading cause of hospital readmissions. It is the most significant source of avoidable hospitalizations in New York's Medicaid population, costing more than $53 billion in hospital care each year. Sepsis kills and disables millions globally and requires early suspicion and rapid treatment for survival.
Older adults (65+) have more than 13 times the risk of developing sepsis than younger patients (Martin et al., 2006). Increased risk of sepsis among older adults is thought to stem from heightened infection risks and other predisposing conditions associated with the aging process (Girard, Opal, and Ely 2005). Other conditions and circumstances linked to greater sepsis risk among older adults include comorbidities, malnutrition, instrumentation such as catheters, and residence in long-term facilities where resistant bacteria are present (Girard, Opal, and Ely). Research on Medicare beneficiaries provides additional evidence for malnutrition, dementia, and Alzheimer's as potential risk factors for sepsis (Buchman et al. 2020). Patients who have previously had sepsis are also at increased risk of sepsis (Buchman et al.).
Research among the general population indicates several risk factors that likely extend to older adults. Black patients are at significantly increased risk of sepsis mortality as compared to white patients, as are individuals with lower levels of education, income, and/or material resources (Kempker 2018), limited English proficiency (Jacobs et al. 2019), or a lack of health insurance (Kumar 2014).
The following conditions are thought to underlie the heightened risks of sepsis and/or sepsis mortality among older adults (Rowe and McCoy 2017): Institutionalization (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care, and post-acute care
Frailty and decreased ADLs
Cognitive impairment and dementia
congestive heart failure
chronic liver failure
instrumentation (e.g. catheters)
Additional risk factors identified in the U.S. population include:
Black or African American
Lower socioeconomic status
Limited English proficiency
Other findings specific to older adults include:
Sepsis is 1.96 times more likely to result in readmission to a hospital than non-sepsis hospitalizations.
More than 40% of older patients have another hospitalization within three months of the initial sepsis, most commonly due to a repeat episode of sepsis or another infection.
Nursing home residents are more than six times more likely to present with sepsis in the emergency room than non-nursing home residents.
There are 20,000 new cases of moderate-to-severe cognitive impairment among older adults each year caused explicitly by sepsis.
Director of the New York State Office for the Aging Greg Olsen said, "The impact of sepsis on older adults and families of all ages is sobering and requires us to significantly ramp up outreach and education to identify the signs and symptoms to save lives and to minimize poor outcomes. We are thrilled with this partnership and our joint effort to make the word "sepsis" and its signs and symptoms commonplace in New York State."
CEO and President of the Home Care Association, Al Cardillo, heralded the initiative as "groundbreaking" in sepsis intervention with the aged, their care providers, and communities across the country. "Director Olsen's partnership with sepsis experts blazes a new path for New York and sets forth a model for state aging directors across the U.S. on the life-saving importance of sepsis prevention, early identification, and treatment. The Home Care Association eagerly joins in supporting and collaborating in this crucial effort."
Association on Aging in New York Executive Director Becky Preve said “Sepsis is a leading cause of death in the older population, and can be prevented through education and awareness of the signs and symptoms necessitating emergency treatment. This partnership will provide extensive opportunity for service providers and individuals to become familiar with identifying sepsis, and how to communicate with health professionals. This project will save lives, and prevent individuals and families from suffering poor health outcomes. The Association on Aging in New York is thrilled with this innovative partnership.”
Thomas Heymann, President, and CEO of Sepsis Alliance said, "Sepsis Alliance recognizes that timely recognition and treatment of sepsis saves lives, and this is especially important with vulnerable groups, like the aging population. The New York State Office for the Aging's commitment to including sepsis in their education is a necessary step towards a healthier population, and we are pleased to support this effort."
Director of CADER, Bronwyn Keefe, said, "Public education to identify the signs and symptoms of sepsis is critical for aging providers to understand in order to intervene early and prevent further medical complications. Once again, NYSOFA is leading the way in its education and outreach efforts around topics that are most important to improving the quality of life for older adults. We are thrilled to continue our deep and long-lasting partnership in educating and strengthening the competencies of aging service providers in New York."
About the New York State Office for the Aging and Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly New York
The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) continuously works to help the state's 4.3 million older adults be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development, and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs, and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them.
New York is nationally recognized for being the first age-friendly state in the nation. Using the state's Prevention Agenda as the overarching framework, in 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched a Health Across All Policies approach, where public and private partners work together to positively impact population health by marrying health care, preventive health, and community design, in concert with addressing social determinants of health, to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, young and old.
Stay connected—download the NYSOFA mobile app for iOS or Android; visit the NYSOFA Facebook page; follow @NYSAGING on Twitter and NYSAging on Instagram; or visit aging.ny.gov.
About the Home Care Association of NYS (HCA)
HCA is the statewide association representing home health and home care agencies, hospices, managed long-term care plans, and allied community support organizations across New York State. HCA is also the leader of the "Stop Sepsis at Home NY" initiative in sepsis screening and intervention through the home health system. HCA: https://hca-nys.org/ and https://stopsepsisathomeny.org/
About Sepsis Alliance
Sepsis Alliance, the first and leading sepsis organization in the U.S., seeks to save lives and reduce suffering by improving sepsis awareness and care. More than 1.7 million people are diagnosed with sepsis each year in the U.S., with more than 270,000 deaths and over 50% of survivors experiencing post-sepsis syndrome and other lingering effects, including amputations. At Sepsis Alliance's founding in 2003, only 19% of U.S. adults were aware of the term "sepsis." After more than ten years of educational efforts for the general public and healthcare providers through Sepsis.org, Sepsis Alliance Clinical Community, Sepsis Alliance Institute, and Sepsis Alliance Voices, awareness is at an all-time high of 71% with over 20,000 healthcare providers across the country having attended sepsis webinars and courses to elevate their practice and over 28 Sepsis Awareness Month state proclamations. Sepsis Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and a GuideStar Platinum Rated charity. For more information, please visit www.sepsis.org and connect with Sepsis Alliance on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn at @SepsisAlliance.
About the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) at Boston University
Located at Boston University's School of Social Work, the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) is dedicated to strengthening the workforce that provides health and long-term supports and services to older adults and people with disabilities. CADER offers comprehensive, validated, and skill-based online training, available through individual courses, certificate programs, or customized programs for organizations: www.bu.edu/cader.