Hi, my name is Ruth Harrison and I am a proud learning disability
nurse. I chose to be in this career because I had a brother with an
intellectual disability. I have had the opportunity over my many years
working in learning disability services to meet some passionate people
who were motivated and keen to support me in my roles.
18 months ago, I started work with an amazing sepsis nurse called
Paula Evans. We started out simply to make a leaflet that could be
accessible for people, on looking after themselves following an
infection. This was created in collaboration with our local day
services, who were then keen to work with us more. We then created a
series of videos for YouTube on looking out for the signs of sepsis.
We had a desire to create a further video on the softer signs of
deterioration that may be missed in a person with a learning disability
and/or autism. In collaboration with Vision West Notts College this film
was edited and directed by their students. This can also be found on YouTube and in the 2019 LeDer report. It is here we met another dedicated individual by the name of Julie Hough, an employability and work placement officer.
the creation of this video we all became firm friends. Julie messaged
me one Saturday evening with this amazing idea, bears with information
on the signs of sepsis that could be passed from one person to another.
These became known as the Sepsis Aware Bears.
Between us we purchased 30 bears. The tags were created and all given
unique names. Social media pages were created for them and the aim was
to distribute them on the 13th September, as this is world sepsis day.
order to get a feel of their success we let a few go early and the idea
went 'viral'........ the very first bear given out was called Mottled
Myrtle and she went to Helen Laverty, one of my tutors at university.
Helen put us in touch with Amanda from IT Matters
in order to make the labels more accessible for people. Amanda has
helped create a Makaton version and currently 10 of these are about to
make it into the big wide world. One of the original bears is now
currently in Canada.
It is amazing how one little project to support people with learning
disabilities has gone on to create not only awareness videos and bears,
but long lasting friendships. They have all seen a community coming
together to help people spot the softer signs of deterioration, the
signs of sepsis and give confidence to ask "could this be sepsis"
Sepsis is a condition where the body's response to an infection
causes damage to the tissues and organs. Sepsis can only be caused such
as a chest infection, urine infection or infected cuts and wounds. The
early stages of sepsis can be similar to flu. The earlier a person can
access appropriate healthcare, the better the chance of an improved
Please check out Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for #SepsisAwareBears
Want more information about sepsis? Get our free Sepsis information download , written in Makaton symbols, available from the Makaton Library