Safe life after sepsis: Eugen Muench-prize goes to the “SMOOTH” project

What is the best way of looking after sepsis patients after they have been discharged from hospital. How can the long-term consequences of sepsis be reduced and quality of life increased? A study carried out by the Center for Sepsis Control & Care at Jena University Hospital’s Institute of General Practice focused on precisely these questions. As a result of their work, the more than 40 research scientists that belong to the project group have been awarded the Eugen Muench research award by the Muench Foundation on November 24. The research prize, which is endowed with a total of € 25,000, was offered for the first time this year and was awarded to three groups of researchers.

More than 290 patients that survived sepsis in German intensive-care units participated in the SMOOTH study (Sepsis survivors monitoring and coordination in outpatient care).

Professor Jochen Gensichen, the Director of the Jena Institute of General Practice and Principal Investigator of the study said: “Thanks to successful advances in intensive care medicine, the chances of survival following sepsis have improved. But such high-tech medical care marks a turning point in patients’ lives, and more than a few go on to suffer both physically and mentally in consequence. Unfortunately, the highly specialized fragmentation of our health care system means that much information that is important for curing patients is lost. In the end, the threads converge in the practice of the watchful family doctor, and it is he that can provide support – that is to say “Safe life after sepsis!” The study was the first of its kind to be conducted worldwide and was sponsored by the German Ministry of Education and Research.

Intensive care specialists, hospital clinicians, family doctors and so-called case managers were all networked with one another in order to improve the flow of information and insure that long-term treatment was coordinated. That includes actively supporting patients from the hospital through the rehabilitation phase to further treatment by the family doctor. “Close and continuous networking of the various levels of treatment, i.e., ‘hand in hand from the ICU to the family doctorʼ clearly improves the patient’s situation,” said Gensichen.

Dr. Konrad Schmidt, medical director of the study said, “the cooperation between the various professional groups was excellent and made the trial successful. For family doctors, SMOOTH means specific day-to-day support, while intensive care specialists also showed great interest in the health trajectories of the patients they had often treated in intensive care units for so long. At the end of the day, both are working for the same patient.”

The aim of the Eugen Muench Foundation that was offering the award for the first time is to promote the development of a social infrastructure in German healthcare, particularly by supporting network medicine. The Eugen Muench Award is awarded annually and supports new theoretical approaches, innovative concepts and courageous ideas that have a practical orientation. You can find further information on the prize and the foundation here (in German): www.stiftung-muench.org.

Background:

Institute of General Practice and Family Medicine:

Institute Director Professsor Jochen Gensichen and his team see themselves as building a bridge between medical research and family medicine. In specific terms, the Institute aims to facilitate access to the latest medical know-how for family practices, while, at the same time, taking up topics and questions concerning day-to-day family practices and making them the object of research. Through the structured support of young doctors, the Institute also wishes to contribute towards safeguarding primary care for the people of Thuringia.

CSCC at Jena University Hospital:

The integrated Center for Sepsis Control & Care, or CSCC is one of eight integrated research and treatment centers that are being sponsored by the German Ministry for Education and Research. The CSCC belongs to Jena University Hospital and focuses on research into sepsis and related secondary diseases.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Jochen Gensichen
Universitätsklinikum Jena
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin
07743 Jena, Bachstraße 18
Tel.: 03641/9 39 58 00
Fax: 03641/9 39 58 02
E-Mail: Jochen.Gensichen@med.uni-jena.de

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