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PHE Guidance – Sepsis in children: advice for health visitors and school nurses

4th October 2017

This short guide sets out what health visitors and school nurses need to know about sepsis; and is to designed to raise awareness of sepsis locally amongst health visitors and school nurses and their teams.

This guidance includes:

  • causes and symptoms of sepsis
  • support for parents
  • additional resources for health visitors and school nurses

Parents often have regular contact and an ongoing relationship with health visitors and school nurses; as such they may be the first point of contact for parents who have a concern. Services provided by health visitors and school nurses are not intended to provide a first line treatment or diagnostic service for acutely unwell children, however, when an unwell child attends their service, the practitioner must have the knowledge to support parents to make a decision about the most appropriate course of action and signpost them to the appropriate help based on the child’s presenting symptoms.

Health visitors and school nurses should therefore be aware of the clinical signs and symptoms of sepsis in children and of relevant national guidelines. They need to have clarity on actions that need to be taken and be clear about the advice for parents (NICE CG160, 2013).