Dr. Claude LaFlamme, Director of Cardiac Anesthesia at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario could not just sit by and watch when best practices for preventing surgical site infections were not being provided for patients. For the past 10 years, he has worked tirelessly to address surgical site infections, both at Sunnybrook and as lead of the Safer Healthcare Now! Surgical Site Infection (SSI) intervention. When evidence is put into practice, he knows that surgical site infection rates can be reduced by at least 50 per cent.
Dr. LaFlamme says the Canadian Patient Safety Institute has played a vital role in galvanizing the resources to develop Getting Started Kits for the surgical site infection intervention. He is most appreciative of the motivated and passionate healthcare providers that volunteer their time to put together the evidence and provide education to ensure the best practices are implemented properly.
Dr. LaFlamme has given numerous talks around the country to help frontline healthcare providers in implementing the key elements of safe surgical care. While timely antibiotics and appropriate hair removal are easier to integrate into every day practice, his talks mostly focus on perioperative normothermia, which is more difficult to implement. He says that his most successful talks are during grand rounds, where he can help the surgical team implement best practices to prevent surgical site infections.
The initial Safer Healthcare Now! SSI Getting Started Kit was first published in 2005, revised in 2010 and Dr. LaFlamme has since recruited faculty to work on a third edition to be released in 2014. The updated literature for SSI prevention focuses on new practice guidelines for skin decontamination, appropriate surgical prophylaxis and core temperature. A thorough literature search has been completed and the faculty and working groups will support the development of the updated guidelines. Key elements for percantueous intervention and paediatric antibiotics will be added, as well as a section on the health economics of patient safety to ensure that when choices are made in the best interest of the patient, they are also made to ensure sustainability of the healthcare system.
The voice of the patient will also be incorporated into the updated SSI Getting Started Kit. “Having patients on your team bridges the gap between evidence and practice,” says Dr. LaFlamme. “The patient perspective makes it so real and takes what you are trying to disseminate to a human level.”