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How can nurses contribute to reducing the risk of surgical site infection?

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Key points

  • Surgical site infections continue to represent about a fifth of all healthcare-associated infections
  • Although SSI rates appear to have fallen, this is largely because of poor detection due to rapid discharge
  • The risk of SSI is normally related to the class of surgical procedure
  • A variety of patient factors increase risk; nurses should make every attempt to encourage patients having planned surgery to reduce their risk of infection
  • All nurses should ensure the key interventions to reduce risk are carried out for every patient on every occasion

Let’s discuss

  • What are the signs and symptoms of a surgical site infection?
  • Provide a definition for the four categories of surgical procedures: clean; clean-contaminated; contaminated; and dirty
  • What patient factors increase the risk of SSI?
  • What measures can nurses take to reduce the risk of SSI?
  • Why do you think surgical site infection rates are falling?
  • Comment

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