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Sepsis and Your Senior

Sepsis is the extreme response to a bodily infection, sometimes incorrectly referred to as blood poisoning. A study showed that seniors over the age of 65 made up 65% of sepsis cases in hospitals in 2006.

What is septic shock?

Home Care Naples, FL: Sepsis and Your Senior

Septic shock occurs when certain changes in the circulatory system occur, causing the cells of the body and how the body utilizes energy to become more abnormal. Septic shock is more dangerous than sepsis, and more likely to cause death.

How does a person get it?

Sepsis and septic shock can occur as a result from an infection anywhere in the body that you already have. It is the body’s response to infection or injury, such as influenza, urinary tract infections, or pneumonia. It can start from infections of the skin, urinary tract, lungs, or anywhere else on or in the body.

You are more likely to develop sepsis or septic shock if you:

• Have diabetes or cirrhosis
• Have wounds or injuries
• Have medical devices such as IV catheters or breathing tubes
• Have an immune system that is compromised
• Are very old
• Are very sick and have been in a hospital ICU

What are the signs?

• Confusion or disorientation
• Fever, chills, shivering, or feeling very cold or having clammy skin
• Elevated heart rate
• Extreme pain or discomfort
• Shortness of breath

Because some infections might not be obvious to a senior or their caregivers, if they become confused or begin behaving in an unusual way, it could be the signs of an infection and you should contact their doctor right away.

What are the risks or complications?

One third of people worldwide who develop sepsis will die, and others will be left disabled or with life-changing aftereffects like chronic pain and fatigue, organ dysfunction, or amputations.
It can cause blood clots to form in your limbs such as arms, legs, fingers, or toes, which can lead to organ failure and possibly tissue death.

Can it be treated?

Because of the deadly nature of developing sepsis, it needs to be both recognized and treated as quickly as possible. After any kind of infection in your elderly parent or loved one, utilize their caregivers at home to be on the lookout for any signs of a sepsis infection or septic shock. Every hour that sepsis goes untreated increases the risk of death.

Treatment options are the use of antibiotics and IV fluids, as well as medications such as those that are used to raise blood pressure. Treatment of sepsis is usually aggressive and done in a hospital setting so that a patient can be closely monitored and have access to lifesaving measures if needed.

Often, people receiving treatment for sepsis will also require the use of oxygen to help them breathe. Your senior’s caregivers can assist with any oxygen needs at home.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove sources of infected tissue.

Most people with mild forms of sepsis will recover, but the average mortality rate for septic shock is approximately 40 percent.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Naples, FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.



Ted Wolfendale

Administrator at Dial-a-Nurse
Mr. Wolfendale is a graduate of Stetson University, and Stetson University School of Law, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988. He is admitted to practice in the Middle district of Florida, is an active member of the Florida Health Law section, and Lee County Bar Association.

In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
Ted Wolfendale

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