Journal articlesA survey of postoperative wound dressing practice before and after implementing national guidelines

A survey of postoperative wound dressing practice before and after implementing national guidelines

01/11/11 | Education, Infection, Service delivery, Surgical wounds | Nigel Roberts, Julie Sorrell, Alistair Bielby, Richard Searle

Aims: The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend that at the end of an operation ‘surgical incisions anticipated to heal by primary intention should be covered by a film membrane, with or without a central absorbent pad’. The objectives of this project were to measure the usage and acceptability of a postoperative dressing, and evaluate the use of resources and incidence of surgical site infection (SSI).

Methods: The approach comprised a survey of current practice (non-woven dressings) followed by a further survey with a vapour-permeable film dressing after a programme of education and training in the use of the new product.

Results: The incidence of SSI was 6.4% (5/78) using the non-woven dressing, and 4.8% (5/104) using the vapour-permeable barrier dressing.

Conclusions: Using a cost model with conservative assumptions, a cost-saving of £13 per patient was observed after adoption of the vapour-permeable film dressing.

Declaration of interest: Richard Searle and Alistair Bielby are employees of Smith & Nephew. This project was supported by an unrestricted grant from Smith & Nephew.