New Pre-Surgical Cleansing Procedure May Reduce Infections

Patients unable to have chlorhexidine shower can still be protected from site infections
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The chlorhexidine shower recommended for reducing the risk of surgical site infections is often impractical for vascular patients due to comorbidities, but an intraoperative surgical site precleansing technique can still help protect them from infections, according to an article published in the August issue of AORN Journal.

Kelli Grelle, R.N., and colleagues at Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas write that the existing recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to clean the surgical site the night before surgery lack standardization and are often difficult to implement, particularly in patients who are overweight, elderly, or who have diabetes or kidney disease.

Nurses at Baylor developed a standardized precleansing procedure for the groin area prior to vascular surgery that entails using a chlorhexidine scrub brush, hair clipping, drying and antiseptic cleaning.

"After implementing the new, standardized precleansing procedure, the nurses took the process a step further and presented their procedure to the surgeons, who also saw its benefit and supported its implementation -- many surgeons had seen the need for further cleansing firsthand," the authors write. "To standardize and reinforce the practice, the charge nurse or team leader makes rounds in each room to remind staff members to follow the facility's standardized precleansing procedure."

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