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Healthcare Associated Infections- Surgical Site Infections

Hospitals are not the safe places we would like them to be. That’s the finding issued by members of the Surgical Patient Safety System Collaborative Group in a 2010 medical journal report. They discovered that nearly 1 out of every 10 people admitted to the hospital experienced an “in-hospital adverse event” (harm resulting from medical care), which resulted in a longer hospital stay or a disability and 7 percent of the patients died

Surgery-related problems—especially infections in the part of the body where the surgery took place (surgical site infections or SSIs)— accounted for more than half of all adverse events in this large group of patients. Compared with other surgery patients, people who developed surgical site infections were twice as likely to die, twice as likely to spend time in the intensive care unit, and five times more likely to need another hospitalization after being discharged from the hospital. If you develop a surgical site infection, you’re also likely to need four, six, or even more extra days in the hospital, which adds significantly to the cost of care.

That’s the bad news.

Now for the good news. We know that 40–60 percent of surgical site infections can be prevented by simple practices. Patients can play an important role in ensuring that these practices are performed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other national organizations have developed infection prevention guidelines for both patients and healthcare workers.

For example, analysis of the study’s 75,000 patient records showed that over 40 percent of all surgical site infections could have been prevented if healthcare workers had followed basic infection control procedures. These “best practice guidelines” include the following:

¦¦Checking that all operating room tools and equipment are sterile
¦¦Administering preventive antibiotics
¦¦Making sure surgical sponges and needles aren’t left inside the body

Prevent Surgical Infections!

If you develop a surgical site infection, you have a greater risk of needing intensive care and a longer stay in the hospital. You might even die.

The good news is that patients can help to protect themselves from getting an infection. Reminding healthcare workers to wash or sanitize their hands is No. 1 on an infection protection checklist.

From: The Patient Survival Guide; 8 Simple Solutions to Prevent Hospital and Healthcare Associated Infections. By Dr. Maryanne McGuckin with Toni Goldfarb. Demos 2012.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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