Surgical Site Infections

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Surgical site infections are considered preventable. Because such infections are considered preventable, there are legal consequences directly connected to such a condition. In this paper, I will discuss what an SSI is and the reasons on why it is considered to be preventable. I will also discuss the role of disclosure and legal implications that are related to SSIs, accreditation expectations, and continuous quality monitoring as it relates to SSIs. A surgical site infection, or SSI, is an infection of a wound that was made due to surgery. Such infections can be superficial (infection of skin only) and other infections can be more serious (deep tissue infection). A superficial infection at the surgical site is defined as “an infection that developed within 30 days of surgery and involved only the skin and subcutaneous tissue” (Kuzu, M. A., Hazinedaroglu, S., Dolalan, S., Özkan, N., Yalçin, S., Erkek, A. B., . . . Ercümet Kuterdem., 2005). Deep tissue SSI is a bit more complex as it may take a little longer for the infection to be detected. Deep tissue SSI is defined as “an infection that developed within 1 year post-surgery and involved the fascial layer and muscle layers” ((Kuzu, M. A., Hazinedaroglu, S., Dolalan, S., Özkan, N., Yalçin, S., Erkek, A. B., . . . Ercümet Kuterdem., 2005). It is important for patients to know the difference between superficial and deep tissue SSI and be aware of complications that can develop due to SSI so that they can be more careful of their role in SSI prevention. SSI is, for the most part, preventable. A patient can contract an infection in many ways; one way is as a hospital acquired condition, also known as healthcare associated infection, nosocomial infection or HAI. “Postoperative surgical site infections (SSI) are the third most common health care associated infection.” (Jakobsson, J., Perlkvist, A., & Wann-Hansson, C) An HAI is an infection that is not present at the time the patient is admitted to a healthcare facility. An infection takes time before it begins to show, so hospitals will only consider an infection to be an HAI if the infection shows after the 48th hour after admission. An infection that showing prior to the 48th hour after the patient has been admitted is considered a community acquired condition. As I have stated, SSIs are mostly preventable. The ways in which an SSI can be prevented include proper surgical timing and procedure. Surgeries lasting for 3 hours or longer also increase your risk. (Drugs.com., 2012), proper cleansing of wound after surgery and proper patient education of how to keep wound clean and dry after hospital discharge. Providing the proper care before, during and after surgery is pivotal to the success of patient care. Hospitals should practice prevention of SSI daily.

Quality healthcare practice is important to the success of any hospital, therefore, a healthcare facility should take part in daily activities/duties that promote practices such as asepsis hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, proper handling of dressings and proper disposal of biohazard materials to reduce the chances of infection. Although there are procedures in place that should prevent most occurrences, SSI is not completely preventable. “Even when all of the proper procedures known to prevent SSIs are followed — from administering preoperative antibiotics to using the correct antiseptic to prepare the skin during surgery — some patients appear to be much more susceptible than others to contracting an infection”(MedicalXpress.com, 2012) Some patents will be presented for surgery with a condition that increases their chances of infection. When this is the case, proper procedures should be followed, maybe including antibiotics before surgery as well to increase the chance that infection will not occur. Preventing SSI occurrences in a hospital will show great quality of care practices. More patients will prefer to receive their healthcare from that facility above...
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