In cancer patients with central lines, how does chlorohexidine baths compared with soap and water baths affect hospital acquired infections rates within a hospital stay?
Chlorohexidine (CHG) is a product commonly associated with patients getting procedures or surgery to prevent infections. Within the past year, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin started to implement CHG bathing in the hospital for Oncology patients with central lines and Foley catheters. I was able to take on the role of a CHG champion and educated my fellow nursing assistants on the proper way to use this product. Although our unit did not have a previous problem with central line infections before using this product, we were still able to maintain the zero-harm goal on the unit and decrease length of stay for patients that may have gotten an infection due to being immunocompromised. As this product became more researched, we were able to make this a hospital wide requirement that all patients with central lines and Foley catheters would use this product daily to prevent infection. I am very passionate about this topic and believe with more research, this can be expanded to other hospitals to prevent infection in the immunocompromised populations and eventually all patients.
Studies have shown that by using CHG daily, we are able to decrease the incident rates of patients being exposed to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) during hospitalizations (Landholt, Mantia, McMullen, Petlin, Prentice, Schallom & Sona, 2014). The study continues to state how CHG can be effective against many gram-negative bacteria and is an easy way to decrease length of stay in the hospital setting due to a common hospital acquired infection (Landholt et al., 2014). As CHG is beginning to become more widely used, there are still many areas that are not using the product due to price and other barriers. However, the study solidifies that the price of treatment is much more expensive then prevention techniques (Landholt et al., 2014). With more awareness and research studies on CHG, it will become a more widely used product and potentially save many patients from acquiring a preventable infection in the hospital setting.
Landholt, C., Mantia, P., McMullen, K., Petlin, A., Prentice, D., Schallom, M., & Sona, C. (2014). Chlorhexidine Gluconate Bathing to Reduce Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureous Acquisition. Critical Care Nurse, 34(5), 17-26.