Preventing Errors and Infections During Surgery: Steps for Hospital Staff and Patients
- Adopt safety techniques and procedures
- Report on how well they are implementing these procedures
- Regularly train hospital staff
What the Hospital Staff Will Do to Prevent...
Patient Identification Errors
- Identify each patient with the treatment or service intended for him or her
- Match the treatment or service to the specific patient
- Have a specially trained and dedicated infection control staff
- Regularly educate all surgeons and staff on infection control measures
- Vaccinate and treat personnel for exposure to infection at all times
- Implement computer-assisted decision support and reminders that help doctors know when and how much antibiotic or other medicine to give you
- Treat any other infections you have, such as urinary tract infections, if able
- Perform a "surgical scrubbing" of the arms and forearms
- Use an antiseptic on your skin
- Remove hair from your body only if needed and in the most sterile manner (such as clipping or using depilatory cream)
- Give you prophylactic antibiotics within 1-2 hours
- Wear special gowns, masks, gloves, and hair covers that act as a barrier to microorganisms
- Keep the surgical area sterile or "free of germs" by using special sterile drapes and other antimicrobial barriers
- Limit the number of people coming into and out of the operating room
- Keep the operating room at a comfortable temperature (eg, 68°F to 73°F [20°C to 22.7°C]) to prevent infection
- Keep the surgery time as short as possible
- Discontinue antibiotics within 24-48 hours after surgery
- Control your blood sugar levels
- Control bleeding
- Minimize catheter use and duration
- Keep the main wound covered with sterile dressing for 24-48 hours
- Discontinue IVs as soon as possible
- Use sterile techniques when handling tools and changing wound dressings or catheters, such as:
- Wash hands
- Wear a mask
- Unfold supplies in an ordered manner on a sterile surface
- Carefully put on gloves
Other Steps You Can Take
- Wash your hands often and make sure visitors do, too. You may consider using an antibacterial wash.
- Stay warm before your procedure.
- Make sure your healthcare providers are washing their hands and wearing gloves and masks.
- Use tissues, or cough and sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a nutritious, healthy diet.
- Keep blood sugar levels under control.
- Quit smoking.
- Use clean techniques around your surgical wound:
- Do not let others touch you near your surgical wound.
- Follow your doctor's instructions for using a sterile technique and special kits for your post-surgical needs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/
The Joint Commission http://www.jointcommission.org/
Canadian Medical Association http://www.cma.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses. Perioperative standards and recommended practices—2009 edition. Listserv, University of Vermont website. Available at: http://list.uvm.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0907c&L=MEDLIB-L&P=5553. Published June 2009. Accessed December 19, 2011.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection control in healthcare settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/. Accessed December 29, 2009.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Surgical wound infection prevention. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Last updated December 14, 2009. Accessed December 31, 2009.
The Joint Commission. Accreditation program: hospital national patient safety goals. The Joint Commission website. Available at: http://www.jointcommission.org/NR/rdonlyres/868C9E07-037F-433D-8858-0D5FAA4322F2/0/RevisedChapter%5FHAP%5FNPSG%5F20090924.pdf. Created 2009. Accessed January 25, 2010
The Joint Commission. Infection control. The Joint Commission website. Available at: http://www.jointcommission.org/PatientSafety/InfectionControl/. Accessed December 29, 2009.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 12/2011 -
- Update Date: 12/19/2011 -