Monitoring surgical site infections in the Division of Surgery

Everyone at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is committed to the prevention of infections following surgery. This section describes an extra process we have put in place to monitor your child after their operation, both in hospital and at home.

Any operation or procedure poses a risk of infection, although in most cases this risk is low. Your surgeon will discuss the specific risk to your child as it is different depending on the type of operation. An infection following surgery is an unpleasant experience. To help us understand why infections develop and prevent them we need to ensure we know about any that occur.

What happens during my child’s stay?

During your child's stay following their operation, in addition to all the routine care, they will be visited by a member of staff from the Surgical Site Infection Surveillance (SSIS Team). A surveillance officer will collect information about your child’s surgery and progress. If there are any issues these will be discussed with your surgical team and the infection control team as necessary.

What happens when we go home?

To enable our SSIS team to monitor your child’s wound following discharge, we need your help so we will telephone you at home to ask about your child’s wound. This will usually be about 30 days after your child’s operation.

If your child has any problems with wound healing or shows any signs of wound infection, it is important that you follow the advice given by your surgical team at GOSH immediately.

After your child is discharged from hospital, please look out for the following signs as these may be an indication of infection:

  • Your child is generally unwell

  • They have a high temperature of 38°C or more

  • The wound site is redder than before and the redness has spread around the wound

  • The wound site feels hotter than the surrounding skin

  • The wound site is oozing a clear or creamy fluid

  • Your child is complaining of pain and the wound site is sensitive to touch

When we telephone you, we will ask the following questions:

  • Has your child’s wound healed without any problems?

If it has, we will not need to ask you any further questions. However, if problems have developed, we will carry on to ask:

  • whether you reported the problem to your child’s surgical team at GOSH

  • whether the wound has been red

  • whether it has felt hot

  • whether it has oozed clear fluid

  • whether it has leaked pus (yellow or green fluid)

  • whether the wound has broken open

  • which, if any, healthcare professionals you have seen about the wound

  • whether they took any samples from the wound for testing

  • whether your child has been given any medicine

  • whether your child has been admitted to another hospital

Compiled by:
The Surgical Site Infection Prevention and Surveillance team (Division of Surgery) in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group.
Last review date:
December 2018