October 1994

Gowning Does Not Affect Colonization or Infection Rates in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(10):1016-1020. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170100014004

Objective:  To study the effect of gowning in a neonatal intensive care unit on colonization patterns, necrotizing enterocolitis, respiratory syncytial virus and other infections, mortality, and traffic and handwashing patterns.

Methods:  Alternate 2-month gowning and no-gowning cycles were established in a 24-bed level III neonatal intensive care unit for 8 months, with respiratory site, umbilical, and stool surveillance cultures done weekly on all patients. Traffic flow and handwashing compliance were evaluated by direct observation.

Results:  Demographic data did not differ between periods. There were no significant differences between the gowning and no-gowning periods in the rates of bacterial colonization, any type of infection, or mortality. There was no effect on traffic flow or handwashing compliance.

Conclusion:  Gowning in the neonatal intensive care unit is an unnecessary custom without benefit in neonatal colonization, infection rates, mortality, traffic patterns, and handwashing behavior.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148:1016-1020)