Toni Polk, BSN, RN, CIC, Infection Preventionist at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, Texas, reviews rates of surgical site infections, the importance of preventing surgical site infections, and her experience trialing a novel product in a 45-minute educational webinar available here. In this blog, we’ll provide the highlights of her presentation.
Infections Are A Persistent Issue
In the United States, infections affect 300,000 people annually, with Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) making up 20% of all Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).1,2 Not only does this create pain and discomfort for patients, it also creates an annual cost of anywhere from 3.5 to 10 billion dollars.1,2
The importance of SSI Prevention
The prevalence of SSIs can be attributed to the fact that bacteria can infiltrate wounds as endogenous or exogenous flora. However, preventative steps can be taken to keep this from happening, including hand hygiene, surgical hand scrubbing, masks, preoperative skin antisepsis, and sterile field and sterile items.
The postoperative period is essential to preventing SSIs, as APIC recommends sterile dressings remain intact for 48 hours and that care providers refrain from repeatedly lifting the edges of the dressing to monitor the healing process.3
Featured below are the SSI prevention methods utilized at Toni’s facility:
ReliaTect is an effective, affordable option to prevent SSIs
Toni and her team understand the value of dressings staying in place and promoting an environment for healing that is free of contamination, so they considered ReliaTect for their practice. In an initial trial, they applied the product to the arm of a colleague for an extended period of normal activity and bathing. Seven days later, Toni and her team swabbed underneath the bandage and found only one colony unit of staphylococcus.
ReliaTect offers many benefits, as ReliaTect:
- Contains the antimicrobial properties of chlorohexidine gluconate (CHG)
- Is transparent, so the wound can be observed without removing the dressing
- Is waterproof, allowing patients to shower
- Is affordable. For Toni’s practice, a disposable NPWT Incision Management cost $495 whereas ReliaTect was $60 for 2 dressings
Additionally, use of ReliaTect aligns with the ERAS protocol (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery), thereby empowering patients in their post-op site care and maintenance. The experience at Toni’s institution indicates that SSI prevention is entirely possible. It should also be noted that during dressing removal, an adhesive remover should be used to help avoid skin irritation.
Minimizing infection risk is an essential part of optimizing “The Triple Aim” of the Affordable Care Act. Eloquest Healthcare is committed to providing solutions that can help you reduce the risk of central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) and post-operative wound contamination.
- Scott, R. The Direct Medical Costs of Healthcare-Associated Infections in the U.S. Hospitals and the Benefits of Prevention, 2009. https://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/hai/scott_costpaper.pdf Accessed January 16, 2019.
- Loyola University Health System. Surgical site infections are the most common and costly of hospital infections: Guidelines for preventing surgical site infections are updated. Science Daily. January 19, 2017. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170119161551.htm. Accessed January 9, 2019.
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. APIC Implementation Guide: Infection Preventionist’s Guide to the OR. APIC website. Available at: https://www.APIC.org. Accessed October 27, 2018.