Indiana Hospital Association and Indiana State Department of Health Raise Awareness of Sepsis
September 12, 2019
Indiana Hospital Association and Indiana State Department of Health Raise Awareness of Sepsis

​September is Sepsis A​wareness Month ​

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) and its over 170 member hospitals along with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is promoting the awareness of sepsis on Sept. 13, World Sepsis Day, and during the month of September. Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed a proclamation declaring Sept. 13 Sepsis Awareness Day in Indiana. IHA has developed a toolkit to help member hospitals and partners in spreading important messages and educating their communities.

Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and potentially life-threatening response to an infection. A common infection in the skin, lungs, or urinary tract is susceptible to the condition. Sepsis triggers a chain reaction throughout the body and can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death. Protecting yourself against the flu, pneumonia, and other infections and practicing good oral and hand hygiene is the best way to prevent sepsis. Symptoms of sepsis include high heart rate, confusion or disorientation, extreme pain or discomfort, shivering or fever, shortness of breath, and clammy or sweaty skin.

Every three to four seconds, someone around the world dies of sepsis. In the U.S., sepsis claims 270,000 lives a year, which is more than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined. Last year, over 3,500 Hoosiers died from the condition.

“Sepsis is a global, public health problem and is a life-threating condition that is largely unheard of," said Rebecca Hancock, PhD, RN, IHA's patient safety and quality advisor. “The most recent Sepsis Alliance poll showed only 65% of adults in the U.S. have heard of sepsis. Using IHA's 2019 Sepsis Toolkit resources, hospitals are providing community educational programs for Sepsis Awareness Month. Hospitals are raising awareness of sepsis symptoms so the public knows to seek medical attention quickly when sepsis symptoms are suspected."

IHA's Sepsis Awareness Month Toolkit equips member hospitals and partners with tools for clinical and community education including a sepsis FAQ section, podcasts for patients and health care professionals, symptoms and signs of sepsis, social media messaging and content, and other critical information about sepsis. The toolkit can be accessed at

“Knowing the signs of sepsis and getting early intervention can mean the difference between life and death," said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “I'm excited to see hospitals use this toolkit so we can help improve outcomes for our patients."

Earlier in the year, Gov. Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly passed “Josslyn's Law," named after Josslyn O'Hearn who tragically passed away at 18 months from sepsis. The legislation created a task force to research, identify, and disseminate evidence-based sepsis guidelines in schools and health systems.

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The Indiana Hospital Association serves as the professional trade association for more than 170 acute care, critical access, behavioral health, and other specialized hospitals in Indiana. IHA advocates on behalf of its members in Indiana's General Assembly, U.S. Congress, and with multiple regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels. Dedicated to improving quality, patient safety, and Hoosiers' health status, IHA holds numerous grants and facilitates collaboration among hospitals to improve outcomes. IHA also provides members with the data analytics that they need to ensure access to quality, cost-effective health care services across the state of Indiana. To learn more about IHA, visit

Advocacy; Hospital