Surgical site infections are considered preventable. Because such infections are considered preventable, there are legal consequences directly connected to such a condition. In this paper, I will discuss what an SSI is and the reasons on why it is considered to be preventable. I will also discuss the role of disclosure and legal implications that are related to SSIs, accreditation expectations, and continuous quality monitoring as it relates to SSIs.
A surgical site infection, or SSI, is an infection of a wound that was made due to surgery. Such infections can be superficial (infection of skin only) and other infections can be more serious (deep tissue infection). A superficial infection at the surgical site is defined as “an infection
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Next on the list is communication. Firstly, communication to the patient and their family/caregiver must be established. Proper care of the surgical site at home is important for proper healing. When patients, family members or caregivers are confident in knowing what to do to help the healing process, healing becomes easier on the surgical site. A representative or someone from the surgical team should be active in making sure that the proper information and instructions are given to the patient and or their caregiver. As stated, SSIs aren’t 100% preventable. Some individuals are more susceptible to developing an SSI. In the event that an SSI does occur, the hospital staff, preferably one who had a hand in the procedure should be present to explain the condition that has developed. This presents a challenge for the healthcare provider because most are reluctant to discuss such a condition. This is partly due to the patient’s reaction to the acquired condition. The blaming game may take place where the patient and/or family members may place the blame on the surgical team or nursing staff who cared for the surgical site postoperative. There can be legal implications that occur and a host of other issues that can develop with an SSI incident. Another reason why a healthcare provider may be reluctant to discuss a developed SSI is that it will almost certainly hurt their SSI ratings; especially if their ratings were great to