Capital Health participates in the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP), which is sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in collaboration with the American Hospital Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, The Joint Commission, and a number of other national partners. The goal of the SCIP is to help reduce the number of preventable surgical complications across the country. At Capital Health, our surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and patients all play important roles in lowering the number of surgical problems.
One possible complication from surgery is postoperative infections or infections that present after your procedure. To avoid infection, antibiotics are given within 60 minutes before surgery and should be stopped within 24 hours in most cases. Given properly, these antibiotics greatly lower your chances of getting an infection after surgery.
When you have surgery, you are at risk of getting blood clots because you do not move while under anesthesia. Blood clots can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The more complicated your surgery, the higher your risk. Your doctor will know your risk for blood clots and steps that will help prevent them, such as giving the proper medication before surgery.
Taking certain medications together can also cause problems. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter items like aspirin, vitamin supplements or herbal remedies. Your doctor or nurse will tell you which medicines you should continue to take and which medicines you should stop taking before surgery.
Some ways that patients can work with our care team to help avoid surgical complications include:
- Tell your doctor about other medical problems you may have, such as allergies or diabetes. These problems could affect your surgery and treatment.
- Clinical research shows that patients who smoke get more infections. Talk to your doctor about how you can quit smoking.
- Always ask your care team members to wash their hands before examining you.
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you don’t understand, ask again. You have a right to know what’s happening inside your body and what the prescribed care plan will entail.