Does routine gowning reduce nosocomial infection and mortality rates in a neonatal nursery? A Singapore experience

Authors

  • Soek Gek Tan RN MPCV PICNCI,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Staff Nurse, Infection Control Nurse and Paediatric Consultant Kandang Kerbau Hospital, Neonatal Unit II, Singapore
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  • Siok Hong Lim RN MPCC ICNC,

    1. Senior Staff Nurse, Infection Control Nurse and Paediatric Consultant Kandang Kerbau Hospital, Neonatal Unit II, Singapore
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  • I Malathi MB BS MMed(Paed)

    1. Senior Staff Nurse, Infection Control Nurse and Paediatric Consultant Kandang Kerbau Hospital, Neonatal Unit II, Singapore
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Correspondance: S G Tan, Dept of Neonatal Medicine II, Kandang Kerbau Hospital, 1 Hampshire Road, Singapore 0821.

Abstract

A 1 year prospective study on routine gowning before entering a neonatal unit was conducted in a maternity hospital in Singapore. This study was done based on previous work by Donowitz, Haque and Chagla and Agbayani et al., as there have been no known studies done in Singapore. The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that routine gowning before entering a neonatal nursery does not reduce nosocomial infection and mortality rate. A total of 212 neonates from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and 1694 neonates from the neonatal special care unit (NSCU) were studied. Neonates admitted during the 1 year study were assigned to the gowning (control) and no routine gowning (trial) group on every alternate 2 months. The hospital infection control nurse provided data on nosocomial infection. The overall nosocomial infection rate in the NICU was 24% (25 of 104 admissions) during gowning periods compared to 16.6% (18 of 108 admissions) when plastic aprons were not worn before entry. In the NSCU, the overall infection rate was 1.5% (12 of 800 admissions) during gowning periods compared to 2.1% (19 of 894 admissions) when no gown was worn before entry. Results of the study found no significant differences in the incidences of nosocomial infection and mortality in the neonates. The cost of gowns used during the no routine gowning periods was S$2012.8 compared to S$3708 used during the routine gowning procedure. The investigators recommend that routine gowning before entering a neonatal unit is not essential and cost effective for the purpose of reducing infection. Rather the focus should be on adequate handwashing by all hospital personnel and visitors before handling neonates.

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