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Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2017 May 12;6:45. doi: 10.1186/s13756-017-0202-3. eCollection 2017.

Patient engagement with surgical site infection prevention: an expert panel perspective.

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Infection Control Program and WHO Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety, Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland.
Laboratory for Microbiology and Infection Control, Amphia Hospital, Breda, The Netherlands.
Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Charite ´ University Medicine in Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Unidad de Gestión Clínica de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología, Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena/Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS)/CSIC/Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain.
University Hospital and University of Basel, Division of infectious diseases & hospital epidemiology, Basel, Switzerland.
Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Contributed equally


Despite remarkable developments in the use of surgical techniques, ergonomic advancements in the operating room, and implementation of bundles, surgical site infections (SSIs) remain a substantial burden, associated with increased morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. National and international recommendations to prevent SSIs have been published, including recent guidelines by the World Health Organization, but implementation into clinical practice remains an unresolved issue. SSI improvement programs require an integrative approach with measures taken during the pre-, intra- and postoperative care from the numerous stakeholders involved. The current SSI prevention strategies have focused mainly on the role of healthcare workers (HCWs) and procedure related risk factors. The importance and influence of patient participation is becoming an increasingly important concept and advocated as a means to improve patient safety. Novel interventions supporting an active participative role within SSI prevention programs have not been assessed. Empowering patients with information they require to engage in the process of SSI prevention could play a major role for the implementation of recommendations. Based on available scientific evidence, a panel of experts evaluated options for patient involvement in order to provide pragmatic recommendations for pre-, intra- and postoperative activities for the prevention of SSIs. Recommendations were based on existing guidelines and expert opinion. As a result, 9 recommendations for the surgical patient are presented here, including a practice brief in the form of a patient information leaflet. HCWs can use this information to educate patients and allow patient engagement.


Decolonization; Diabetes mellitus; Empowered patient; Hair removal; Hand hygiene; Infection control; MRSA; Patient education; Patient involvement; Patient participation; Screening; Smoking; Staphylococcus aureus; Surgery; Surgical site care bundle; Surgical site infection; Surgical wound infection; Wound care

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