Use of 'bundles of care' to improve patient outcomes is becoming more widespread; however, their use is more common internationally than in Australia. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of implementing a bundle of care for patients undergoing colorectal surgery with the aim of reducing surgical site infections. Each component of the bundle was evidence based, focusing on normothermia, normoglycaemia, oxygen delivery and use of appropriate antibiotics. Implementation required extensive consultation and education, together with a checklist to accompany patients and record whether processes were followed and outcomes achieved. Difficulties were experienced with achieving compliance with processes, although some improvements were seen. There was a link between the use of warming devices and improved maintenance of normothermia. The infection rate fell from 15% [95% confidence interval (CI) 10.4-20.2] before the project to 7% (95% CI 3.4-12.6) 12 months after the project. While the small sample size does not allow definitive conclusions to be drawn, the results are promising. Potential reasons for low compliance with individual components of the bundle of care are discussed. In conclusion, introduction of a bundle of care for patients undergoing colorectal surgery into an Australian hospital was only modestly successful. Despite this, infection rates decreased over the 12 months following introduction of the bundle.
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