Surgical Site Infection

Topics: Surgery, Hospital, Health care provider Pages: 6 (2127 words) Published: September 2, 2013
Surgical Site Infection

In the United States surgical site infections is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in hospital acquired infections. Surgical site infections are just one type of hospital acquired infections (HAIs) but I believe they are one of the most preventable. A surgical site infection is an infection of a wound that occurs after an invasive surgical procedure. It can take days before the patient even shows signs or symptoms of an infection. “Infection develops when the number and activity of bacteria in the wound overwhelm the patient’s immune system, resulting in tissue breakdown and delayed healing” (Gould, D. 2012). This paper will begin by describing exactly what surgical site infections are and the different types. It will also describe why it is considered preventable. While it is not possible to prevent all surgical site infections it is possible to reduce them by at least sixty percent. Next this paper will discuss some of the legal implications related to surgical site infections. There are millions of dollars that are being awarded to patients in lawsuits because of preventable SSIs. The Center for Disease Control has guidelines that healthcare organizations must follow to help reduce the risk of SSIs; and it when these guidelines are found not to be followed that patients are wining lawsuits against healthcare professionals and organizations. A breakdown in communication can be a cause of so many surgical site infections. The breakdown can occur between medical staff or between the staff and patients. This paper will explain some ways that improved communications could assit in reducing surgical site infections. Then this paper will explore the accreditation expectations related to surgical site infections. “The Joint Commission accredits 82% of the hospitals in the United States” (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013, p. 516).  It will explain what expectations the Joint Commission have in regards to surgical site infections. And finally this paper will discuss the outcomes related to the cost and quality of surgical site infections. I will explain what continuous quality improvement strategies I would use to involve members of the healthcare team in planning and implementing improvements related to surgical site infections. I will also discuss what strategy that I believe would generate the best outcome and cost the least to implement.

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a serious complication that occurs in approximately 2% of surgical procedures and accounts for some 20% of health care associated infections. (de Lissovoy, 2009) A surgical site infection occurs on the part of the body that the surgery took place. Our skin is our natural defense against infection so any time there is a break in the skin it can lead to infection. A surgical site infection can develop within a few days of surgery or can take up to thirty days to occur. According to the Center for Disease Control there are three types of surgical site infections. The first type is the superficial incision SSI; this infection occurs just at the incision area of the skin. The second type of SSI is more severe and this infection occurs beneath the skin of the incision area and affects the muscle tissue and the tissue surrounding the muscles; this is considered a deep incision SSI. The third and most severe type of SSI is the organ or space SSI. This type of infection can occur in body organs or a space between organs. (National Healthcare Safety Network, 2010). While there are many risk factors that contribute to surgical site infections there are many ways that a patient and physician can reduce the risk and help prevent it. Some of the risk factors include having a weakened immune system, diabetes, cancer, being overweight or a smoker, being an elderly adult, and having other medical problems; these are just a few of the risk factors. While it is impossible to completely prevent surgical site...
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