Eloquest Healthcare is excited to feature Gwen Borlaug, MPH, CIC, FAPIC! Gwen worked at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) as the Director of the Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Program and as an infection prevention epidemiologist. She launched a statewide public health initiative to reduce surgical site infections, using a surgical care champion to provide peer-to-peer learnings to surgeons and surgical teams in Wisconsin hospitals. She also served as the MRSA epidemiologist and subject matter expert.
She has been an infection preventionist for 22 years. She received an APIC Heroes of Infection Prevention Award and a Chapter Leadership award in 2010 and became an APIC Fellow in 2017. She is currently an independent infection prevention consultant.
Surgical site infection (SSI) is one of the most common healthcare‐associated infections (HAI) in the United States with an estimated case mortality rate of 2.5%. SSIs cost an estimated $20,785 per infection and contribute to the largest portion of annual HAI cost at 34%. In the webinar, Innovations in the Surgical Site Infection Prevention Bundle: How Early Adoption Can Improve Patient Outcomes, Gwen Borlaug considers whether enhancing healthcare organizations’ efforts towards SSI reduction with a prevention bundle can positively impact patient safety while improving their economic outlook.¹
SSI prevention is imperative for healthcare organizations working towards value based care. The evidence‐based SSI prevention bundle involves maximizing host defenses and minimizing wound contamination by incorporating a wound closure bundle with the following innovations to reduce SSI:
Wound edge protectors ‐ Can help reduce superficial incisional SSI by reducing the size of the wound opening.
Sterile glove changes ‐ Changing to new sterile gloves right before wound closure and using dedicated trays opened just before the closure.
Wound irrigation ‐ Used to remove debris from the surgical incision to further reduce bacterial contamination levels. Sterile normal saline and chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) together have been said to be the current best practice based on expert opinion.
Antimicrobial sutures – Can aid in decontaminating the incision upon closure. In a clinical study comparing bacterial growth of standard polyglactin sutures to triclosan (antimicrobial)‐coasted polyglactin closure devices, the antimicrobial coasted sutures reduced bacterial growth in vitro.
Interactive dressings – Work to interact with the wound bed to reduce bacterial counts, reduce exudate, and to promote wound healing. ReliaTect® is a transparent, CHG embedded post‐op dressing that enables wound monitoring without having to remove the dressing for seven days. ReliaTect® requires minimal patient interaction and the patient is able to shower with the waterproof dressing on.
Borlaug declares that SSI prevention is complex, dynamic, and requires herculean efforts from myriad clinical disciplines to achieve the best surgical outcomes for patients. Early adoption of innovative practices such as the bundled approach above can have a positive impact on controlling SSI and providing patients with the best, safest care.
To learn more, view the full webinar here.
Eloquest Healthcare’s products support strategies that prevent hospital acquired infections and provide better outcomes, higher quality and lower healthcare costs. For more information about ReliaTect®, please contact your sales consultant or Eloquest Healthcare®, Inc., call 1‐877‐433‐7626 or visit www.eloquesthealthcare.com.
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References: 1. Borlaug, G. (April, 2020) Innovations in the Surgical Site Infection Prevention Bundle: How Early Adoption Can Improve Patient Outcomes [Webinar]. Retrieved from https://webinars.apic.org/webinar/154011