Clinical checks and patient’s own assessments
A clinician will ask a number of questions and complete an examination. The examination is likely to involve a physiological assessment which may include:
- blood pressure
- respiratory rate
- oxygen saturations
- confusion status
A raised respiratory rate, low blood pressure and new onset confusion offer a higher predictive value than the other measures for possible sepsis.
Hospitals measure deterioration and triage patients based on these 6 measurements in a tool called NEWS2. NHS England » National Early Warning Score (NEWS)
Pulse oximetry and monitoring vital signs outside the GP practice setting
More Care Home patients and patients in the community are been monitored for sepsis. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) covers in the article linked to below some of the details of what is requested when monitoring for sepsis is done outside a GP practice. Though intended for clinicians there are links to useful information including to what results are abnormal and how to take a pulse. This should not be relied on but can give you insights into what is looked for and maybe asked of you by a doctor to monitor for the potential risk of sepsis if you have an infection.
From the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
Pulse oximetry and monitoring vital signs outside the GP practice setting GP mythbuster 102: Pulse oximetry and monitoring vital signs outside the GP practice setting | Care Quality Commission
PATIENTS OWN ASSESSMENT without clinical involvement
Many patients now have a thermometer and oxygen saturation monitor and some have an electronic blood pressure monitor. Importantly it is worth understanding what your baseline readings are when you are well so you can more easily understand when there is a trend showing deterioration.
However, be aware that these readings cannot always be relied on and if you consider you or someone you are looking after has evidence of sepsis then call 999 do not just rely on readings.
An example of difficulties with the accuracy of measurements is given in the case of oxygen saturation monitors (article intended for clinicians) CAS-ViewAlert