Innovative infection prevention program reduces surgical infections, shortens hospital stays

hospital bed

  • Giving oral antibiotics with the patient’s mechanical bowel preparation
  • Identifying the best antibiotic to use, as well as optimal timing and redosing for colorectal surgery, with the guidance of UT Southwestern’s antibiotic stewardship committee
  • Using chlorhexidine baths, a cleaning product that kills germs, prior to the surgery and wipes to the abdomen immediately prior to the operating room to decrease bacteria on the skin
  • Improving access to critical medications by storing the antibiotics directly in each operating room’s “pyxis” machines, which hold and distribute the anesthetic drugs
  • Requiring the surgical team and their assistants (scrub techs and residents) to change their gowns and gloves when the surgery was completed and they were about to close the wound, assuring no contamination from the surgical site got into the sterile areas of the wound
  • Actively warming patients both prior to and during the surgery, which has been shown to decrease the risk of wound infections
  • Increasing patient mobility as soon as possible after surgery, for example sitting up in a chair the day of surgery and walking in the hallways up to three times as soon as possible, which decreases the risk of infection

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