Implementing daily chlorhexidine gluconate treatment for the prevention of healthcare-associated infections in non-intensive care settings: A multiple case analysis

Jackson S. Musuuza, Tonya J. Roberts, Ann Schoofs Hundt, Pascale Carayon, Michele L. Zimbric, Valeri Schuetz, Mel Reppen, Windy Smith, Kirsten Koffarnus, Roger L. Brown, Jason Bowling, Kat Jalali, Nasia Safdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction Daily bathing with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) in hospitalized patients reduces healthcare-associated bloodstream infections and colonization by multidrug-resistant organisms. Achieving compliance with bathing protocols is challenging. This non-intensive care unit multicenter project evaluated the impact of organizational context on implementation of CHG and assessed compliance with and healthcare workers’ perceptions of the intervention. Materials and methods This was a multiple case study based on the SEIPS (Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety) model of work system and patient safety. The four sites included an adult cardiovascular unit in a community hospital, a medical-surgical unit in an academic teaching pediatric hospital, an adult medical-surgical acute care unit and an adult neuroscience acute care unit in another academic teaching hospital. Complementary data collection methods included focus groups and interviews with healthcare workers (HCWs) and leaders, and direct observations of the CHG treatment process and skin swabs. Results We collected 389 bathing observations and 110 skin swabs, conducted four focus groups with frontline workers and interviewed leaders. We found variation across cases in CHG compliance, skin swab data and implementation practices. Mean compliance with the bathing process ranged from 64% to 83%. Low detectable CHG on the skin was related to immediate rinsing of CHG from the skin. Variation in the implementation of CHG treatments was related to differences in organizational education and training practices, feedback and monitoring practices, patient education or information about CHG treatments, patient preferences and general unit patient population differences. Conclusion Organizations planning to implement CHG treatments in non-ICU settings should ensure organizational readiness and buy-in and consider delivering systematic and ongoing training. Clear and systematic implementation policies across patients and units may help reduce potential confusion about treatment practices and variation across HCWs. Patient populations and unit factors need to be carefully considered and procedures developed to manage unique challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0232062
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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