Bathing hospital patients using antimicrobial cloths can slash the number of bloodstream infections, US researchers have suggested.
A study found daily bathing of paediatric patients with disposable cloths containing 2% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) cut central line-associated bloodstream infections by 59% over a six-month period.
The study was presented at the US Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
The study examined the impact of implementing a daily CHG bathing protocol for all paediatric patients at the 269-bed Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.
Previously, the hospital used the antimicrobial for daily bathing to reduce infections in its haematology/oncology unit with marked success.
“We were able to dramatically reduce infections in just six months”
This prompted the team to consider implementation of the practice hospital-wide, regardless of whether patients had central line catheters, said researchers.
The hospital’s infection prevention team worked with nursing staff, parents, and managers to develop an educational programme to adopt daily CHG bathing for all patients, and strengthen adherence to a bundle of prevention practices already in place for patients with central lines.
In addition to daily bathing with CHG-impregnated wipes, the strategies included daily linen changes, assessment of central line dressings, appropriate technique for giving medications, and regular tubing and cap changes on the lines.
During a control period – six months prior to implementation of the intervention – the hospital had 22 central line-associated bloodstream infections. During the implementation period, the number dropped to nine.
Central line associated bloodstream infections decreased from 2.2 per 1,000 line days during the six month baseline period 1.1 infections per 1,000 line days during the implementation period, said the study authors.
The researchers also said bathing compliance increased from 45% to 81% during the six-month study.
In addition, the hospital experienced a 56% drop in the number of MRSA infections.
Study author Adam Karcz said: “We took great care to ensure successful implementation of the new bathing regimen.
“By educating everyone on the care team – including parents – and standardizing bathing procedures, we were able to dramatically reduce infections and save healthcare dollars in just six months,” he added.