doctor with older adult

Sepsis Awareness and Prevention

Gain a better understanding of this life-threatening, but preventable condition.

What is Sepsis?

Watch to learn more about this silent killer

NYSOFA's Director Olsen Stresses Importance of Recognizing SEPSIS Symptoms


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It occurs when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Most cases of sepsis start before a patient goes to the hospital. Infections that lead to sepsis most often start in the lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. 

It is a life-threatening medical emergency. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. In a typical year throughout the United States:

  • At least 1.7 million adults will develop sepsis.
  • At least 350,000 adults who develop sepsis die during their hospitalization or are discharged to hospice.
  • 1 in 3 people who dies in a hospital had sepsis during that hospitalization


Risk Factors
While anyone can develop Sepsis, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) says those at higher risk include:

  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Children younger than one year of age
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, or kidney disease
  • People with recent severe illness or hospitalization
  • People who have had sepsis before


How Someone Can identify Sepsis
It’s crucial you get medical care right away if you have an infection that is not getting better or getting worse. The CDC says a person with sepsis might have one or more of the signs or symptoms:

  • High heart rate or weak pulse
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
  • Shortness of breath
  • Clammy or sweaty skin


Sepsis and New York State
New York State has long led in sepsis prevention and intervention efforts, including Rory’s Regulations. In response to the tragic death of Rory Staunton, New York State was the first in the nation to establish a statewide mandate requiring all hospitals to adopt sepsis protocols. The protocols were designed to improve rapid identification and treatment of sepsis.

Additionally, New York and Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) implemented a first-in-the-nation sepsis screening tool and protocol for home care clinicians. Learn more about this tool on the HCA website:


NYSOFA and Partners Launch Nationwide Partnership for Sepsis and Aging (PFSA)

On March 20, 2024, NYSOFA, Sepsis Alliance, the Home Care Association of New York State and the Association on Aging in New York launched a new nationwide organization called The Partnership for Sepsis and Aging (PFSA) which is designed to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of sepsis in order to save lives and mitigate the negative and life-changing outcomes of sepsis.

PFSA is free to joinWe ask organizations to simply use some of the many free resources available to regularly educate the community on the signs and symptoms of sepsis, regardless of age. With quick identification, sepsis can be treated, saving lives!

Please join by contacting Nancy Graham at [email protected].


Watch the PFSA Kick-Off Webinar

Download the PFSA Kick-Off Webinar Slides (PDF)

Download the Sepsis and Aging Fact Sheet


Sepsis and Aging Resources


Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

End Sepsis: The LEGACY of Rory Staunton

Sepsis Alliance

Home Care Association of New York State

2023 Sepsis Awareness Month Proclamation