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Managing Sepsis


Surviving Sepsis After Discharge

happy senior coupleRecovery varies for everyone individually. While most patients with sepsis recover fully, those patients who go on to develop severe complications such as septic shock may need additional support and possibly rehabilitation on their road to recovery. Managing sepsis at home, after discharge from the hospital includes addressing several factors.

Initial sepsis recovery generally includes:

  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation starting in the hospital: move around and get back to being able to perform daily activities like bathing, sitting up/ standing, walking, going up/downstairs, etc.
  • Always start slowly and once strength is built up, increase activity as tolerated

What to Expect When at Home

Getting back to normal may feel challenging and your mind and body will need time to heal. Pay close attention to your body’s clues and seek additional help if you require help with:

Physical challenges:

  • Weakness, fatigue, general aches, and pains
  • Sleep irregularities
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Loss of appetite / Bad taste in your mouth / Stomach upset
  • Weight loss
  • Skin changes – dry/itchy/flaky skin
  • Hair loss
  • Unsteady movements

Mental health concerns:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression, not taking care of yourself
  • Avoiding social contacts and being unmotivated
  • Feeling anxious, angry, and frustrated
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Easily getting confused
  • Having nightmares/flashbacks and bad memories
  • Post-sepsis syndrome (see below)

What Should Be Done to Recover Well at Home From Sepsis

  • Get plenty of rest and build up strength gradually
  • Set small, achievable goals for each week – taking a bath, dressing yourself, walking up stairs
  • Slowly increase activity and exercise as tolerated
  • Maintain a healthy sleeping routine
  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other caffeine-free clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and must limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet every day.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. When you quit smoking, you are less likely to get a cold, the flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia. If you need help quitting, please reach out to our smoking cessation team at 833-795-QUIT (833-795-7848).

You will be discharged with a list of your medicines when you leave the hospital.

  • Know your medicines. Know what they look like, how much you should take each time, how often you should take them, and why you take each one.
  • Take your medicines exactly as your provider tells you to. Even when you are feeling better, it is important to finish the full antibiotic treatment to make sure all bacteria have been killed.
  • Carry a list of your medicines in your wallet or purse. Include any nonprescription medicines and supplements on the list.

Write down all your questions and follow up with your clinician for your scheduled check-up.

  • Keep a journal
    • Record your thoughts, dreams, successes, and struggles
    • Record your temperature at least once daily (see log)
    • Assess your health daily and seek help if you are not feeling well (see log)
  • Engage in a conversation with friends and family about your experiences
  • Learn about your condition and how you can prevent it from returning

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Saint Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
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