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Clinical update

Preventing and treating surgical site infections: what nurses need to know

Updated NICE guidance deals with antiseptic skin preparation, antibiotics and wound closure
NICE guidance addresses wound cleaning

Updated NICE guidance deals with antiseptic skin preparation, antibiotics and wound closure

Essential facts

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), surgical site infections (SSIs) comprise up to 20% of all healthcare-associated infections.

At least 5% of patients having a surgical procedure will develop an SSI, yet most are preventable, says NICE.

Infections range in severity from a limited wound discharge, happening within seven to ten days of an operation, to a life-threatening postoperative complication.

SSIs can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life, causing pain and discomfort, delaying healing and recovery, and potentially extending hospital stay.

What’s new

In April, NICE published updated guidance on SSIs , replacing its 2008 document. It details the prevention and treatment of SSI in adults, young people and children who


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