Post-discharge surveillance: can patients reliably diagnose surgical wound infections?

Whitby, M., McLaws, M.L., Collopy, B., Looke, D.F.L., Doidge, S., Henderson, B., Selvey, L., Gardner, G., Stackelroth, J. and Sartor, A. (2002) Post-discharge surveillance: can patients reliably diagnose surgical wound infections?. Journal of Hospital Infection, 52 3: 155-160. doi:10.1053/jhin.2002.1275

Author Whitby, M.
McLaws, M.L.
Collopy, B.
Looke, D.F.L.
Doidge, S.
Henderson, B.
Selvey, L.
Gardner, G.
Stackelroth, J.
Sartor, A.
Title Post-discharge surveillance: can patients reliably diagnose surgical wound infections?
Journal name Journal of Hospital Infection   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0195-6701
Publication date 2002-11-01
Year available 2002
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1053/jhin.2002.1275
Open Access Status
Volume 52
Issue 3
Start page 155
End page 160
Total pages 6
Place of publication London, England
Publisher W B Saunders
Language eng
Subject C1
321208 Primary Health Care
730299 Public health not elsewhere classified
Abstract Post-discharge surgical wound infection surveillance is an important part of many infection control programs. It is frequently undertaken by patient self-assessment, prompted either by a telephone or postal questionnaire. To assess the reliability of this method, 290 patients were followed for six weeks post-operatively. Their wounds were photographed and also covertly assessed for signs of infection by two experienced infection control nurses (ICNs). Patients also responded to a postal questionnaire seeking evidence of infection at both week four and week six post-surgery. Correlation between the patient's assessment of their wound and the ICNs diagnosis was poor (r = 0. 37) with a low positive predictive value (28.7%), although negative predictive value was high (98.2%). Assessment of photos for signs of infection by two experienced clinicians also correlated poorly with the ICNs diagnosis of infection (r = 0.54). The patient's recall of prescription of an antibiotic by their general practitioner (GP) for wound infection during the postoperative period correlated best with the ICNs diagnosis (r = 0.76). This latter measure, particularly when confirmed by the GP in those patients reporting an infection, appears to provide the most valid and resource efficient marker of post-discharge surgical wound infection.
Keyword Infectious Diseases
Surgical Wound
Hospital Discharge
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 04:52:44 EST