Surgical Site Infection

Frequently Asked Questions

Information for Patients and Families

Patient safety remains the most important priority for Cornwall Community Hospital and this involves ensuring that patients are not at risk for contracting health care-associated infections.

We have a number of practices in place to help prevent surgical site infections, including administering antibiotics to patients at a certain time before their surgery. As of April 30, 2009, all Ontario hospitals that perform hip and knee joint replacement surgeries are required to post quarterly SSI-Prevention percentages to further promote accountability and transparency within the health system.

If you have any questions about the information below or about our hospital's infection prevention and control program, please contact Nancy Ann Bush at 613-938-4240 ext:3344

What are health care-associated infections?

Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they can get infections. These are called health care-associated infections.

What is a Surgical Site Infection?

A surgical site infection (SSI) occurs at the site of a surgical incision. Germs can get into the incision area, and cause an infection. It can develop within 30 days of an operation, or sometimes even up to one year if an implant (such as a knee or hip joint implant) is used.

Infections can be minor, or occasionally they can increase complications that result in a longer length of stay in the hospital, or an increased readmission rate for patients. Post- operative SSIs are the most common health care-associated infections in surgical patients.

What can patients do to help reduce their chances of infection?

Follow the pre-operation instructions given to you by your surgeon and health care team.

Frequent hand cleaning is another way to prevent the spread of infection. Hand hygiene involves everyone in the hospital, including patients.

More patient-specific information is available at :