Patients’ narratives of surgical site infection: implications for practice

Tanner, Judith and Padley, Wendy and Davey, S. and Murphy, K. and Brown, B. (2013) Patients’ narratives of surgical site infection: implications for practice. Journal of Hospital Infection, 83 (1). pp. 41-45. ISSN 1532-2939

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Exploring patients' experiences has been used widely within healthcare to improve clinical service delivery. To date there has been minimal patient input of this kind into aspects of surgical site infection (SSI), such as surveillance or prevention interventions.


To obtain information from patients' experiences of SSIs to improve clinical practice.


Narrative interviews with 17 patients with SSIs (four deep, 12 organ space and one superficial) from three hospitals in England were conducted followed by thematic content analysis.


Patients lacked overall awareness, concern and understanding of SSIs. Seven patients did not know that they had SSIs and, judging from patients' accounts, staff may have contributed to the lack of awareness by not informing patients of SSIs or downplaying their existence. The use of primary care resources was considerable and six of the patients were absent from work for two to four months.


SSIs have a low profile among patients which, if it were raised, could increase compliance with preventive interventions. This study confirms the appropriateness of using patient self-assessment post-discharge surveillance questionnaires to identify SSI symptoms, and highlights the need to identify total costings including to primary care, patients and the economy.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Roe, Jonathan
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 15:13
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:19

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