Christiana Care Health System's health care workers are participating in a major study to determine if wearing gowns and gloves for all patient care in one unit will reduce health care-acquired infections.
Christiana Care is one of only 20 academic medical centers nationwide participating in the Benefits of Universal Gown and Gloving, a $5.7 million study supported by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Joint Commission.
The study is comparing 10 hospital intensive care units that use gowns and gloves for all patients against 10 hospitals using current CDC guidelines for prevention of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci). The CDC currently recommends gloves and gowns whenever health care workers come into contact with patients who already have been diagnosed with MRSA or VRE infections.
Christiana Hospital's Surgical Critical Care Complex has been selected as one of the 10 intensive care units in which gloves and gowns must be worn by all health care workers and visitors whenever they enter a patient's room. The intervention began in January and will end in September.
"What we're trying to do through this study is find a definitive answer – universal gown and gloving may become the new standard of care, or might have no benefit or might even cause harm," said Marci Drees, M.D., hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention at Christiana Care. "We are honored to be included in such a prestigious study."
Participation in the study requires a coordinated team approach that touches several components of the hospital, including nursing and medical staff, quality and safety, purchasing, materials management, environmental services and infection prevention.
"Our teams have come together in a coordinated fashion to help make this study a success," Dr. Drees said.
Dr. Drees believes the findings from the study will result in improvements in the U.S. health care system. An estimated one out of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract a hospital-acquired infection, according to the CDC. The CDC estimates that the overall annual direct medical costs due to hospital-acquired infections can be as high as $45 billion.
For more information about Christiana Care, visit www.christianacare.org/whoweare.