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Patients’ narratives of surgical site infection: implications for practice

Tanner, Judith; Padley, Wendy; Davey, S.; Murphy, K.; Brown, B.


Judith Tanner

Wendy Padley

S. Davey

K. Murphy

B. Brown



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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Journal Journal of Hospital Infection
Print ISSN 0195-6701
Electronic ISSN 1532-2939
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 83
Issue 1
APA6 Citation Tanner, J., Padley, W., Davey, S., Murphy, K., & Brown, B. (2013). Patients’ narratives of surgical site infection: implications for practice. Journal of Hospital Infection, 83(1), doi:10.1016/j.jhin.2012.07.025
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf