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October 1994

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

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)