A safer, less costly SSI prevention protocol—Universal versus targeted preoperative decolonization

  • Susan Franklin
    Address correspondence to Susan Franklin, RN, Wellstar Cobb Hospital, Infection Prevention Department, 3950 Austell Road, Austell, GA 30106.
    Wellstar Cobb Hospital, Infection Prevention Department, 3950 Austell Road, Austell, GA 30106.
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Published:April 29, 2020DOI:


      • Surgical infection causes significant patient suffering and health care costs.
      • To reduce the risk, 1 hospital introduced universal nasal and skin decolonization.
      • Decolonization was provided with alcohol nasal antiseptic and chlorhexidine soap.
      • Surgical infection rate was reduced to zero for total hip and knee procedures.
      Surgical site infection after total joint replacement results in significant patient suffering and health care costs. To reduce the risk of surgical site infection after total joint procedures, 1 hospital instituted preoperative universal nasal and skin decolonization, using an alcohol based nasal antiseptic and chlorhexidine bathing. This resulted in reduced infection rates, and associated patient morbidity and costs to the facility.

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