Does sterile or nonsterile technique make a difference in wounds healing by secondary intention?

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After observing inconsistencies in care of acute surgical wounds healing by secondary intention and reviewing the potential cost savings of implementing clean dressing change technique policies, surgical nurses at a university-based medical center monitored supply usage and infection rates of these wounds using a nonexperimental, longitudinal study design. Staff from two acute care surgical units provided data for 3 months before and 3 months after standardization of wound care to a clean wound care technique. All adult patients requiring dressing changes three times per day with normal saline moistened gauze of their open surgical wound(s) participated in the study. Before changing the wound care procedures, nine (9) of 1,070 (0.84%) admissions to the two surgical units had a surgical site infection. During the 3 months following implementation of clean wound care protocols, eight (8) surgical site infections were documented in 963 admissions (rate.83%). Dressing supply costs were $ ... more
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