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Preoperative Skin Cleansing: Education Needed to Combat Variable Compliance


This report summarizes the issues relating to the need for greater standardization of preoperative skin cleansing to help fight surgical site infections (SSIs). Preoperative skin cleansing is a common evidence-based practice that may reduce the risk of patients acquiring a surgical site infection (SSI) -- yet there are divergent ways it is being implemented. Lack of standard guidelines creates confusion on the part of healthcare workers and patients – leading to poor compliance and increased risk of harm.

Editor's Take

The current national mandate for quality improvement, increased patient safety, decreased infection rates and overall cost containment necessitates that healthcare institutions review their current preoperative skin cleansing practices to identify substandard protocols. It is also imperative to review the current medical literature as well as guidelines and re commended practices from organizations such as the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) in order to understand evidence-based practices that will supplement your infection prevention and control program in both the inpatient and ambulatory surgical services arena.

Takeaways for Your Business

  • Review costs associated with SSIs
  • Learn how poor practices impede compliance
  • Discover strategies to improve preoperative patient bathing