Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Awards Grant for Sepsis Education

It'ss About TIME: Temperature, Infection, Mental Decline, Extremely ill. 

The McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation received a grant of $11,950 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Community Matching Grant Program for Sepsis education. The grant will help establish a regional Sepsis taskforce, host a Sepsis simulation for EMS providers, and train non-hospital health professionals to identify and respond to Sepsis symptoms.

“Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection,” said Cairn Ruhumuliza, MSN, RN, Sepsis Coordinator at McLaren Northern Michigan. “For best chances of survival, Sepsis must be treated quickly and properly.”

The new regional taskforce will focus on increasing awareness about Sepsis, and empowering those working with patients in their homes, caregivers in residential facilities, and EMS to identify symptoms and respond quickly.

“A common misconception about Sepsis is that it starts in the hospital,” said Ruhumuliza. “In reality, 94% of Sepsis cases at McLaren Northern Michigan originate outside of the hospital and getting the patient to timely care is critical.”

The Sepsis taskforce will kick off in early 2019, with simulation and education events planned for spring of 2019 and 2020.

“We’re proud to support the hospital’s work improving access to quality health care and empowering providers to develop new techniques that address the specific needs of the community,” said Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

This program will also help establish best practices that can be replicated by other rural communities. McLaren Northern Michigan plans to publish the outcomes of this program at the end of the two-year grant.

“We are grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation for supporting this important work,” said Jennifer Woods, MSN, RN, Interim CEO at McLaren Northern Michigan. “There continues to be stigma and a lack of education around Sepsis, and this effort will have a positive impact on patients throughout our region.”

For those at risk of Sepsis, the Sepsis Alliance instructs to watch for: temperature that is higher or lower than normal; signs and symptoms of an infection; confusion, sleepiness, or difficulty rousing; and severe pain or discomfort. If you suspect Sepsis, see a doctor urgently, call 911, or go to a hospital and say, “I am concerned about Sepsis.”

For information on services available at McLaren Northern Michigan, please call 800-248-6777 or visit