The complexity of surgical procedures contributes greatly to postoperative infections though other factors like the age of the patient and health history cannot be ruled out. Other aspects that play a role in postoperative infections include iatrogenic immunosuppression as well as reduced immunocompetence. Infectious agents like staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, and enterococci have become more resistant to many of the antimicrobial and antibiotics available. To counter postoperative infections, hospitals have to control the infections, and the use of new antibiotics, prophylaxis, and disinfection has to be effected (Koontz, 2000). This paper looks at the risk management issue of postoperative infections.
Steps that have been set in place to curb postoperative infections
Three principles have been set up in the reduction of postoperative infections concerning the Island Hospital in Washington, the USA that specializes in total joint replacements, arthroscopies, bowel surgeries, and endoscopies. These principles include wound irrigation, handling the tissues gently as well as thorough homeostasis. Using these surgical techniques excellently plays a great role in curbing these infections. For instance, if a patient’s skin is handled gently, the chances of it tearing following a surgical operation are minimal.
Developing an incision wound is rare and this ensures that postoperative infections are kept at bay. Using the surgical tool known as electrocautery is minimized, as it is associated with the occurrence of wound and tissue infections. Before the skin is closed, meticulous homeostasis must be applied to reduce the risk of infection. This is done by subjecting the bleeding points to pressure for not less than 30 seconds as this helps prevent more tissue injury to the skin as compared to hot sponges.
Other techniques that must be avoided include the use of absorbable sutures in the closure of dead spaces at which accelerates the rate at which patients suffer from postoperative infections. The use of soaked dressings has been stopped as research shows that bacteria have a higher chance of existing in them. That is why the use of dry dressings is highly recommended in covering surgical wounds. To further reduce the risk of these infections, preoperative supplemental oxygen is highly recommended for at least 2 hours after the surgical procedure. The operating room is also vital in curbing postoperative infections and that is why extra care is taken to ensure that it is free from infectious bacteria (Gilstrap et al., 2002).
How the agency determined a path to remedy postoperative infections
In the recent past, the US hospitals have come under attack that has highlighted their efforts in curbing postoperative infections. According to federal reports presented by Preidt (2010) in the Health Day News, these hospitals have scored lowly in the fight against the issue. The general concern is that there is still more that can be done especially to help obese patients. Some of the most common postoperative infections reported in a majority of US hospitals include postoperative sepsis, urinary tract infections, as well as postoperative pneumonia.
The Island Hospital, therefore, embarked on a program that could help remedy this issue. This included advocating for effectiveness in its staff and ensuring that their patients were safe from such infections. The hospital also resolved to be punctual in providing preventive antibiotics to its patients awaiting surgery. They also resolved to be patient-centered to ensure that they took proper care of the patients entrusted to them. These remedies are all geared towards quality healthcare and access (Preidt, 2010).
How other facilities are handling the postoperative infections menace
Other hospitals and surgical centers in the US are working hard in the fight against postoperative infections. From this study, it is evident that these infections emanate from poor preparations of patients going for surgery, contamination of the surgical wounds, and poor immunity on the side of the patient that makes them unable to fight these infections as well as the use of poor antibiotics. Other than these, patients who are obese, as well as those who are advanced in age, are more susceptible to these infections. With the cause laid down so clearly, the battle has then gone back to eliminating these occurrences to ensure that patients get the highest quality of medical attention (MDA, 2010).
To manage postoperative infections, hospitals are encouraged to establish a patient’s medical history. If patients are diagnosed with preexisting illnesses, they should be subjected to stabilization to ensure that the operation is successful. This is because such illnesses place a patient at a greater risk of suffering infections immediately after surgery. Hospital-acquired bacteria also plays a great role in postoperative infections and hospitals are encouraged to limit the time patients remain hospitalized before they undergo surgery (Rehman, 2010).
The use of surgical techniques that reduce the risk of contracting such infections must be followed. The use of the right antibiotics is also encouraged to ensure that bacteria that cause post-surgical infections are eliminated. These antibiotics must be non-toxic, inexpensive, and possess the quality of being easily administered (Duff, 2008).
Comparison of initiated processes to fight postoperative infections
According to this research, the Island Hospital resolved to increase efficiency to ensure that they curbed negligence that would have contributed to the rise in postoperative infections at the center. In addition, the hospital resolved to focus more on patient safety that was aimed at ensuring that patients at this facility were well attended to to rid them of hospital-acquired infections. These infections would have contributed highly to their acquirement of the infections due to the presence of bacteria. To succeed in this, they ensured that they limited the amount of time the patient spent at the facility before surgery to cut out the possibility of them acquiring these infections.
On the other hand, the Island Hospital took on a fight on timeliness since the research showed clearly that many of their patients were not able to access the antibiotics in time. this contributed highly to their chances of acquiring postoperative infections, as their immunity would below. This hospital also resolved to be more patient-centered to ensure that they gave the patient the best care. This was geared at ensuring that they were available to guide the patient on issues that included medication, diet, and healthy living which would eliminate future health complications. The research revealed that most of the patients were not advised by their doctors on lifestyle issues and this contributed highly to their health issues. For instance, obese patients did not receive advice on proper diet, hygiene, and exercise which would avert health complications in the future (Preidt, 2010).
The other health centers had an almost similar program on the prevention of postoperative infections. Some of the adopted measures included proper care of patients who were awaiting surgery. This meant that patients were advised on the available procedures and the effects they would have on their health. Since contamination of wounds is a major factor in such infections, the patients were advised on how to take care of them when out of the hospital. The surgeons ensured that they followed the right surgical techniques to eliminate the chances of exposing the patient to infections. Antibiotics also played a great role in fighting infections and the medics ensured that they provided their patients with the correct ones. They also ensured that these antibiotics were available to all by making them affordable, non-toxic, and easy to administer (Duff, 2008).
Conclusion / Recommendations
Postoperative infections contribute highly to premature deaths since most patients are not strong enough to fight them. This is the main reason why they must be fought in all health institutions to ensure that patients have a good chance to recover. From this paper, it is evident that factors such as ineffectiveness, administering of the wrong antibiotics, ignoring patient’s medical history, and negligence among others contribute greatly to these infections. Surgeons thus have a fierce battle to fight here to ensure that they provide their patients with quality services and access at all times.
The recommendations that must be followed to the word include availing patients with information on lifestyle changes especially if they are obese. Health facilities must also ensure that they are efficient, timely, and patient-centered to curb these infections. In addition, medics have to practice surgical techniques such as wound irrigation, handling the tissues gently as well as thorough homeostasis, which work towards managing the risk of postoperative infections.
Duff, P. (2008). Diagnosis and management of postoperative infection. University of Florida, College of Medicine, 4(1), 1-2.
Gilstrap, L.C, Cunningham, F.G., & VanDorsten, P.J. (2002). Operative obstetrics. 2nd Ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.
Koontz, F. (2000). Trends in postoperative infections by gram-positive bacteria. Journal of antimicrobial agents, 16(2), 35-37.
MDA. (2010). Wound infection, postoperative. MD Guidelines, 12. Web.
Preidt, R. (2010). U.S. hospitals get low marks on curbing infections. Health Day News, pp. 1A.
Rehman, A. (2010). A simple method to reduce infection of venticuloperitoneal shunts. American Association of Neurosurgeons, 5(6), 1-30.