General practitioners' views and experiences in caring for patients after sepsis: a qualitative interview study

Sabine Gehrke-Beck, Jochen Gensichen, Katrina M Turner, Christoph Heintze, Konrad Schmidt

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Background Patients surviving critical illnesses, such as sepsis, often suffer from long-term complications. After discharge from hospital, most patients are treated in primary care. Little is known how general practitioners (GPs) perform critical illness aftercare and how it can be improved. Within a randomised controlled trial, an outreach training programme has been developed and applied.

Objectives The aim of this study is to describe GPs’ views and experiences of caring for postsepsis patients and of participating a specific outreach training.

Design Semistructured qualitative interviews.

Setting 14 primary care practices in the metropolitan area of Berlin, Germany.

Participants 14 GPs who had participated in a structured sepsis aftercare programme in primary care.

Results Themes identified in sepsis aftercare were: continuity of care and good relationship with patients, GP’s experiences during their patient’s critical illness and impact of persisting symptoms. An outreach education as part of the intervention was considered by the GPs to be acceptable, helpful to improve knowledge of the management of postintensive care complications and useful for sepsis aftercare in daily practice.

Conclusions GPs provide continuity of care to patients surviving sepsis. Better communication at the intensive care unit–GP interface and training in management of long-term complications of sepsis may be helpful to improve sepsis aftercare.
Original languageEnglish
Article number040533
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This work was supported by the German Center for Sepsis Control & Care, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (grant 01 E0 1002).

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • post intensive care syndrome
  • sepsis
  • primary care
  • General Practitioner
  • aftercare
  • outreacheducation
  • qualitative research


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