Parent Skin Cleansing Prior to Infant Contact in NICU Important to Reduce Staph Infections Interview with:
“Bart Infant” by Bart Everson is licensed under CC BY 2.0Gwen M. Westerling, BSN, RN, CIC
Infection Preventionist
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital What is the background for this study?

Response: The setting of this study is a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with 106 beds.

In 2016, an increase in Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) was noted in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) caused by Staphylococcus aureus (SA) through diligent Infection Prevention Surveillance. When we reviewed the literature we found the SA is a common skin colonizer and can be a problem for neonates with immature skin and immune systems.

Staphylococcus aureus is easily transmitted through direct contact with skin, the contaminated hands of health care workers, the environment and equipment. We also found one study that listed skin to skin care as a risk factor for acquisition of SA. Before we saw the increase in infections some process changes occurred in our NICU that included increased skin to skin care, meaningful touch between neonates and parents, and two person staff care. We hypothesized that the process changes were exposing neonates to increased amounts of Staphylococcus aureus and contributing to the increase in infections. What are the main findings?

Response: Our results demonstrate that our interventions of increased awareness regarding hand hygiene, education of staff about Staphylococcus aureus and increased risk of acquisition for NICU patients, and implementation of parent skin cleansing prior to skin to skin care for all SBU patients and neonates with a central line were effective at reducing infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Most hospitals have a hand hygiene program in place but still understand that leadership rounding and vigilance is necessary to keep the bar set high and maintain excellent compliance. Educating staff about issues that affect their patients is important in promoting ownership of problem resolution. Most importantly readers can take away that putting a system in place for cleansing parent skin prior to skin to skin care at the bedside is easy, and an important step to reducing infections and keeping our patients safe. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Further research is needed to validate these results and further identify skin to skin care as a risk factor in the acquisition of infection.

Disclosures: I do not have any disclosures other than I am working on publishing the study as a brief journal article. 


Reducing Staphylococcus Aureus Infections in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Through Parent Skin Cleansing Prior to Skin to Skin Care
Westerling, Gwen M.
American Journal of Infection Control , Volume 46 , Issue 6 , S84


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Last Updated on June 15, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD