Background: Health-care-associated infections (HAIs), infections that patients contract during the course of their hospitalization, are receiving a growing amount of attention. Heavy skin bacterial colonization aids in the transmission and development of HAIs. Nurses frequently use bathing with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) to reduce patients’ cutaneous microbial burden. This intervention has been shown to have promising but mixed results in the prevention of HAIs. Purpose: This article reviews the literature for evidence on the impact of CHG bathing on HAIs. Method: A literature search was conducted to identify peer-reviewed studies and meta-analyses that examined the impact of CHG bathing on HAIs using PubMed and CINAHL with the following search terms: CHG bathing AND healthcare associated infections, surgical site infections (SSIs), central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), ventilator-associated pneumonias (VAP), catheter-associated urinary-tract infections (CAUTIs), and Clostridium difficile-associated disease. The initial search identified 23 articles for review. Additional studies were identified by searching references used in original studies or review articles on this topic. Principle findings: There is good evidence to support incorporating a CHG bathing regimen to reduce the incidence of CLABSIs, SSIs, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) HAIs. Conclusion: As CHG becomes a standard practice to prevent HAIs, it is important to monitor for adverse reactions and evidence of resistance/susceptibility.
- chlorhexidine gluconate
- health-care-associated infections
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Research and Theory