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Table 1 Summary of recommendations and key actions for patients to participate in SSI prevention program

From: Patient engagement with surgical site infection prevention: an expert panel perspective

Recommendations Key actions for patients
1. Staphylococcus aureus screening and decolonization For high risk surgery, nasal screening for methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) or methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) carriage is recommended
Decolonization treatment with mupirocin 2% ointment with or without a combination of chlorhexidine gluconate body wash prior to surgery is needed for nasal carriage of MSSA or MRSA
Apply decolonization treatment at least the night and the morning before your surgery
Decolonization treatment for 3–5 days before the surgery if possible
2. Smoking Inform your doctor about your smoking history before surgery
Quit smoking 4 weeks or longer before your surgery
3. Hair removal Shaving is strongly discouraged
Do not remove hair at the site of the planned incision when at home Hair should only be removed with an electrical clipper
4. Hand hygiene Clean your hands before eating a meal; after visiting the toilet or using commode/urinal; before and after touching your drip (IV line) or drainage bag/tube
Visitors should not touch your wound or dressings
Speak up if you do not see HCWs clean their hands
5. Body temperature Ask about the procedures followed to keep you warm throughout surgery
Take a hot shower shortly before the surgery
Avoid “cooling down”
Ask for extra blankets to keep yourself warm during transportation
Speak up, if you feel cold before or after surgery and ask for a blanket
6. Preoperative showering and bathing Make sure your skin is clean before surgery
Shower or bathe (full body) with either soap (antimicrobial or non-antimicrobial) on the night before and/or in the morning of the surgery
7. Diabetes mellitus See your doctor at least one month before your scheduled surgery
Maintain stable blood glucose levels before, during and after surgery
Inform HCWs about your routine insulin regime
8. Wound care after surgery The wound dressing should be kept in place for 48 h after surgery
If change of dressing is necessary, this should be done under a clean technique
Ensure that HCWs clean hands immediately before changing your dressing
Visitors should not touch your wound or the dressing when visiting you
Make sure you know and understand how to care for your wound before leaving the hospital
Report any redness, pain, swelling or fever to HCWs
9. Multidrug-resistant organism risk (MDRO) Inform HCWs about any travel history or previous recent hospitalisation
Inform of any known carriage of any MDRO such as MRSA, Extended Spectrum β-Lactamase (ESBL) producing or Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)