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Project 6: Creating a Culture of Sepsis Awareness Through Advocacy, Health Literacy and Knowledge Transfer

Principal Investigators

Dr. Jeanna Parsons Leigh | Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University 
Contact: j.parsonsleigh@dal.ca

Dr. Kirsten Fiest | Associate Professor, University of Calgary 
Contact: kmfiest@ucalgary.ca

Project Summary

Most sepsis cases start in the community. So, it is especially important for the public to be aware of sepsis, know the signs and symptoms to look for, and know what to do if sepsis is suspected. Recognizing sepsis early is the best hope to survive and limit serious health problems. Unfortunately, we do not know a lot about what Canadians understand about sepsis. Surveys done in other countries suggest that most people do not know a lot about sepsis. There are health education campaigns to help teach people about sepsis, but few are Canadian-focused.  

In this teams 5-Year study, they aim to understand and improve public awareness of sepsis in Canada. To meet this goal, they will involve people living in Canada in three ways:  

  1. Conduct surveys across Canada every other year. This will provide a snapshot of the public’s awareness and understanding of sepsis (what is sepsis, how does someone get it, signs and symptoms, treatment). They will also be able to examine if people have a different understanding of sepsis and different information needs based on, for example, their gender, age, education level, income level, or ethnic or cultural background. 
  2. Conduct focus groups after the first and second national surveys. The focus groups will include people from across Canada. They will use a computer platform to conduct the focus groups. The focus groups will help the team learn more about what the public understands about sepsis as well as how they find and use information to make health-related decisions, including trusted sources for information. 
  3. Develop Canadian health communications to educate and inform the public about sepsis. The team will measure if the communications help improve Canadian’s awareness and understanding of sepsis. 

Sepsis is threat to the health of Canadians and populations around the world. This study will improve our knowledge of Canadian’s awareness and understanding of sepsis. The study results will help to educate,engage, and empower the Canadian public to make informed decisions about their own health 

If you would like to collaborate on this research project or learn more about it, please contact the Principal Investigators. 

To learn more about the Patient, Public, and Healthcare Professional's Sepsis Awareness, Knowledge, and Information Seeking Behaviours: A Scoping Review

Please watch this video:

Comportements de sensibilisation, de connaissances et de recherche d'informations des patients, du public et des professionnels de la santé: une revue la portée du sepsis

Public Awareness and Knowledge Sepsis: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Adults in Canada

Who has heard of sepsis?

Learn more about the survey and findings in this video. Results of this survey will be used to provide recommendations for a national campaign to increase the knowledge and awareness of sepsis in Canada.

Sepsis Canada Team:
Team 2
Project Status:
Active / Ongoing 
Focus Area:
Improving the prevention of sepsis