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Posted 26 Nov 2013 in Healthcare Associated Infections

An eye-catching poster campaign organised by infection prevention and control advisor Margaret Drury has been drawing attention to the issue of Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (DHB).

A member of the steering committee of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s SSI surveillance programme group, Margaret is passionate about engaging support for actions that can reduce SSIs. She worked on the poster campaign with Jacque Cornish, assistant charge nurse manager (orthopaedic and acute surgery).

To launch the SSI focus of Open for better care, Margaret and Jacque first began putting the DHB’s photos in the Commission’s SSI posters. Then they starting developing posters of their own, enlisting the support of the DHB’s clinical photographer and communications team to create posters that told strong messages around SSI preventative actions such as clipping rather than shaving surgical sites.

Hawke's Bay DHB booth

From left: Diane Callinicos, Margaret Drury and Jacque Cornish.

Margaret even had photos taken of a patient’s surgical wound – with the patient’s permission, of course – to provide a real-life illustration for one of the posters.

The posters have been displayed in Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s day stay unit, theatre tea room and orthopaedic ward. For the DHB’s launch of the SSI focus, posters were displayed in a corridor as a sequence showing a patient’s journey, starting with a poster of the pre-admission process including skin preparation and ending with one of a smiling patient going home.

Margaret has had an excellent response to the posters, and is happy for other interested DHBs to consider adapting them.

She says she has had great support from orthopaedic surgeons and other health care staff.

“It’s all about engaging the team,” Margaret says.

“I’ve found that short, sharp messages are more effective than saturating people with information. To get the message across you have to keep it relevant, treat people professionally and give them feedback on what they’re doing.”