Infection of the wound or surgical site is always a concern for nurses taking care of patients post-operatively, so any practice that can be improved to help prevent such infections should be studied with care.

Infection of the wound or surgical site is always a concern for nurses

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Summary of Clinical Issue (200-250 words):

Infection of the wound or surgical site is always a concern for nurses taking care of patients post-operatively, so any practice that can be improved to help prevent such infections should be studied with care. Silver-infused dressings and ointments are a contender because silver has natural antibacterial properties, and has the potential to decrease the risk of surgical site infections (SSI). “When silver dressings come in contact with exudates, silver (an antibacterial and antifungal) is release.

Although expensive, these dressings are effective and are useful as a supplement to systemic therapies, which may have difficulty reaching therapeutic levels in the wound bed (especially for patients with poor vascular perfusion)” (Bennett-Marsden, 2010). Some of the areas that silver-impregnat dressings or ointments containing silver may be use in patients with total knee or total hip arthroplasty, colorectal surgery, and for burn patients.

For nurses, having a decrease risk of infection when their patients comes from a surgical procedure that assists in several elements of the patient’s stay.

With a decreased risk of infection, the patient has the opportunity to physically feel better faster, they will have the opportunity to start physical therapy with greater ease (decreased pain, decreased fear), and have the chance of having a shorter overall hospital stay. With some of the silver-impregnated occlusive dressings, they are waterproof and do not get removed for a week following surgery. This should theoretically allow the patient to shower or bathe in their normal fashion sooner, and also spare the nurse’s time in giving a bath in bed or changing the dressing.

PICOT Question: In arthroplasty patients, will silver infused ointments or dressings as compared to non-silver infused ointments or dressings decrease rates of infection when applied after surgery?

P: In arthroplasty patients,
I: will silver infused ointments or dressings
C: as compared to non-silver infused ointments or dressings
O: decrease rates of infections
T: when applied after surgery?

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