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Decreasing 30-Day Morbidity Rates in Surgery Patients

Decreasing 30-Day Morbidity Rates in Surgery Patients

Numerous studies have demonstrated that 30-day postoperative complications resulting from unintended harm adversely affect patients and their families and increase institutional healthcare costs. Several medical societies and associations have developed simple, inexpensive surgical checklists to help reduce postoperative morbidity and mortality. These readily available checklists are capable of shifting the hierarchical culture of the operating room (OR). Although there is evidence that these tools enhance communication and reduce postoperative complications and death, studies suggest they are not used universally. In April 2010, the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) unveiled a comprehensive surgical checklist that incorporates mandated clinical practices required by the World Health Organization, the Joint Commission, and CMS. The one-page document compartmentalizes information to make documentation during the perioperative process easier. It also includes a debriefing component that encourages the OR team to acknowledge concerns and the plan of care for patients to ensure they are safely transitioned to recovery room staff. Taking a Closer Look In the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Lindsay A. Bliss, MD, and colleagues had a study published that sought to determine if combining a structured, team communications training curriculum with a comprehensive, standardized surgical checklist could reduce 30-day morbidity for patients. The communications training included three 60-minute sessions, with topics such as differences between introverts and extroverts, effective dialogue among all OR personnel, and how to use the AORN’s surgical checklist. High-risk procedures included in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database were analyzed for postoperative morbidity. These operations served as the baseline group because the teams carrying out these procedures did not participate in communications training or use...
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