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A.O. Fox Hospital Diminishes Operating Room Infection

Surgical site infections (SSIs) cause significant burden and cost for patients and hospitals. SSIs are the second most common healthcare-associated infection and lead to higher rates of patient morbidity and mortality and prolonged hospital stays. In 2015, A.O. Fox Hospital created a surgical services environment bundle to reduce operating room (OR) infection.

An audit tool was created to measure bundle compliance. Hospital staff then implemented process changes and initiatives based on the findings, including:

  • hygiene education;
  • UV light to systematically disinfect ORs;
  • updated attire policy to meet Association of Peri-Operative Registered Nurses guidelines;
  • new mattresses for the stretchers;
  • disposable linens in ORs;
  • assignment of dedicated environmental services staff to ORs;
  • regular infection control rounds;
  • updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to monitor temperature and humidity for each OR;
  • new surgical hand scrub and revision of scrub procedure; and
  • use of peri-operative 2 percent chlorhexidine gluconate for pre-operative cleansing.

After implementation, overall SSI rates decreased from 0.87% (16 cases) in 2015 to 0.21% (one case) in 2016; and a predicted rate in 2017 of 0% (zero cases). An internal study proved a 14% reduction in bioburden when the UV light is used for disinfecting.

For more information, contact Russ Grant, Infection Control Coordinator, A.O. Fox Hospital, at (607) 431-5962 or at russell.grant@aofmh.org.