Surgical site infections: what you are required to do

Surgical site infection (SSI) prevention and surveillance is an important and ongoing patient safety initiative. Surgical site infections are defined as any infection, from superficial incisional, to organ and/or space infection that occurs within 30 days after surgery.

The majority of SSIs become apparent within 30 days of an operative procedure and most often between the fifth and tenth post-operative days. Without a SSI surveillance protocol in place, infection rates will invariably be an underestimation of the actual rates as the sensitivity of SSI reporting is low.

Therefore, non-hospital facilities are required to have a surgical site infection prevention and surveillance program in place, which includes tracking infections in patients up to 30 days post-operatively, and the regular sharing of SSI data with facility leadership and frontline staff.

Medical directors may find the Canadian Patient Safety Institute Surgical Site Infection (SSI): Getting Started Kit useful when reviewing and updating their non-hospital facility SSI prevention and surveillance program and associated protocols.