3 Ways to Prevent Surgical Site Infections

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are on the rise, and that includes surgical site infections (SSI), too. In fact, the risk for these infections tied with pneumonia, accounting for 21.8% of total infections in hospitals. To help prevent surgical site infections, it takes vigilance by the hospital staff, as well as the patient.

Prevent Infection of Surgical Wounds

In 2014, the guidelines for preventing SSI were updated and published by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology, Infectious Disease of America, and the American Hospital Association. Prevention needs to take place at all levels of the operation. Here are the new practices in place to help prevent further infections.  

  1. Preoperative Prevention
  2. Intraoperative Procedures
  3. Postoperative Interventions

1) Preoperative Prevention

It is imperative that the patient understands and follows all preoperative instructions. Prior to surgery, it is also important to maintain the patient’s body temperature. Active warming is recommended for at least 15 minutes prior to anesthesia to help prevent hyperthermia. A lower body temperature has been tied to increasing surgical site infection risk. Click To Tweet

2) Intraoperative Procedures

Most surgical site infections are believed to be acquired during surgery. To help combat this and lower the risk for an SSI, hospitals and surgery centers need to be sure that surgical prep is done correctly and a surgical antibiotic prophylaxis is administered prior to the incision. Microbial testing for healthcare facilities and controlled environmental monitoring are excellent steps in ensuring a germ-free environment.

3) Postoperative Interventions

Postoperative wound care needs to be monitored closely. Drains and dressing need to be checked often and frequently cleaned. Hand hygiene and dressing changes are necessary for lowering risk factors of SSI. Postoperative instructions need to be understood and practiced by the patient.

Preventing Surgical Site Infections

Surgical site infections lead to increased postoperative hospital stays. Preventing surgical site infections requires a multidisciplinary approach. Nurses, the facility, and the patient all play a large role in keeping these infections down.

Contact us to learn more ways to help prevent surgical site infections.

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