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Tackling post-op complications, including checklists and auditing

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Abstract

Post-operative complications commonly seen in veterinary practice range from wound healing difficulties to multiple organ failure and death. Regardless of their severity, whenever post-operative complications arise, they are never welcome; let’s face it, the last thing you want to hear when reaching for your coat, after mopping the floor, hungry and tired after a long day, is that the bitch spay from this morning is not doing well and needs to return to theatre as a bleed is suspected. To reduce the rate of post-op complications, clinical audits are used to support quality improvement in clinical settings. Clinical audits enable patient care to be improved by assessing and evaluating current processes in a systematic way. By selecting the correct type of audit, getting the whole practice team on board, and ensuring a blame-free culture is embraced improvement strategies can be identified and implemented. The surgical safety checklist (SSC) is an example of a tool that has been proven to reduce the rates of post-operative complications. By involving the whole practice team in tackling post-operative complications though adoption of audits and checklists the benefits quickly become obvious and real improvements in patient care can be seen.

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