Experts estimate that approximately 6 percent of all deaths are related to sepsis, and 22 percent of those deaths have sepsis listed specifically as the underlying cause of death. Approximately one person dies every two minutes in the United States from sepsis, making it a more frequent cause of death than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined. As a family caregiver, these statistics may be staggering, but they also illustrate how important it is to understand sepsis and do what you can do to protect your senior from the potentially devastating consequences associated with this condition. This
Some of the risk factors of sepsis include:
• Infection. The most obvious risk factor of sepsis is an infection. Sepsis itself is not an infection. Rather, it is an inflammatory reaction to the body’s chemical response to infection. It does not require a very serious infection to lead to sepsis. Even something as small as a bug bite can lead to this reaction
• Age. Elderly adults tend to be more vulnerable to a wide range of health complications and issues than younger people due to immune systems that are less developed and less effective. Approximately 65 percent of cases of sepsis occur in those who are over the age of 65
• Chronic health conditions. The less healthy the body, the more likely it is that that person will develop sepsis. People who are suffering from cancer, HIV, COPD, high blood pressure, and liver cirrhosis are far more likely to develop sepsis than those who are not dealing with these conditions. Around 72 percent of those who develop sepsis have at least one of these conditions
It is very important to note that seniors are not only at higher risk of developing sepsis, but also of experiencing extremely serious complications, including severe sepsis, sepsis shock, and death. If you feel that your parent is at increased risk of this condition, it is important that you are vigilant about their health and well-being, protect them from infections, and pay close attention to them when they are dealing with such an infection to detect any signs or symptoms that might indicate they have developed sepsis.
If you have found that your parent’s needs have increased to the point that you no longer feel as though you can handle them properly, or your own limitations or schedule have changed so that you do not feel that you are capable of offering the level of care that your parent needs and deserves, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting care for them.
A home care provider can fill any care gaps that might exist in your routine with your senior so that they can get everything that they need to stay happy, healthy, comfortable, and safe as they age in place. This is especially reassuring if you are a distance caregiver, helping you to know that even if you are not able to be there with your parent, they are still getting their individual needs and challenges met on a daily basis. The highly personalized nature of this care means that the care provider can help your senior pursue a lifestyle that is as active, engaged, independent, and fulfilling as possible throughout their later years.