Announcing the CAPHC Paediatric Sepsis Screening Tool!


The CAPHC Sepsis Community of Practice (CoP) represents a group of professionals, informally bound to one another, faced with similar challenges trying to improve screening processes, recognition and treatment of sepsis in the paediatric population.  Working as a national community of practice allows for sharing of knowledge, experience, expertise and resources to find solutions. Using inclusive, consensus based problem solving and decision making, the development of national guidelines and strategies for quality improvement become more relevant to the continuum of paediatric health care. 

The goals of the CAPHC Sepsis CoP are:

  • To raise awareness of the prevalence and burden of sepsis in children in Canada and globally
  • To implement national standards for screening, recognition and treatment of sepsis in the neonatal and paediatric population.   

The initial focus is on screening for paediatric sepsis in the emergency department.

The Sepsis CoP has recently developed and piloted a Paediatric Sepsis Screening Tool for use in emergency departments.  We want to encourage and support sepsis screening in emergency departments of all hospitals that serve children and youth.  Implementing new tools is difficult so we also want to identify the barriers to practice change and find solutions to support our quality improvement goals.  

This tool is paper based and as such has limitations. We hope that organizations will be able to incorporate and build this criteria into their electronic triage systems or other current processes.

Future Goals:  In order to fully understand the impact of sepsis in the context of the Canadian health care system, improved awareness, diagnosis and documentation is required.  Without accurate data the challenge to implement change remains.   The CAPHC-Canadian Paediatric Decision Support Network (CPDSN) and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) have been instrumental in identifying where the CoP might find current data and has uncovered the inconsistencies in identifying sepsis in administrative data.  These variations are due to many factors; incomplete or inaccurate data provided by clinicians, incomplete, inaccurate coding and/or interpretation by the coders. Properly identifying those with a sepsis diagnosis should lead to better quality care and follow up. Similar work is being done globally with the World Health Organization and in the US with the Pediatric Healthcare Information System Database.

Click here to download the CAPHC Paediatric Sepsis Screening Tool

No screening tool can identify all patients with severe sepsis.   If you are concerned that a patient might have severe sepsis or another serious condition, notify the responsible physician immediately regardless of whether they meet the criteria in this tool.

For more information or to become involved with the CAPHC Sepsis Community of Practice please contact Lisa Stromquist or go to



Ann WatkinsComment