Six intensive care units or bone marrow transplantation units were randomly assigned to perform daily patient bathing with either nonantimicrobial washcloths (control) or washcloths impregnated with 2% chlorhexidine gluconate for six months. After six months, units were crossed over to use of the alternative approach. Infections and resistant-organism acquisition was monitored for two days after the transition in bathing treatment if the infection or organism was contracted during the bathing assignment time period. Before the study, nurses were instructed on the proper use of both washcloths. All units performed active surveillance testing for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) throughout the study period, including staff and patient swabbing for evidence of colonization.
It took place in nine such units in six hospitals. Units were randomized to wash all patients either with no-rinse 2% chlorhexidine-soaked washcloths or non-antimicrobial washcloths over 6 months.
The study, published in the on February 7, was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and focused on daily patient bathing with either washcloths treated with two percent cholorhexidine or non-antimicrobial washcloths.