Two-thirds of healthcare workers ignore skin antisepsis guidelines

Only one-third of healthcare workers follow evidence-based guidelines for patient skin antisepsis, according to a new survey conducted by Infection Control Today and sponsored by CareFusion. Yet many of the healthcare professionals ranked clinical data and guidelines as the most important factor for choosing a product for skin antisepsis.

"It's promising to see healthcare professionals recognize the importance of following established recommendations and guidelines for reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), but it is disappointing that these guidelines aren't being put into practice more frequently," said Dr. Allan Morrison, Jr., in a statement.

Compliance with skin antisepsis was better for workers with shorter tenure in the industry. Healthcare professionals with less than 20 years in practice ranked skin antisepsis as higher in importance for reducing infections compared to those with 20 or more years of experience.

Specialty was also a major determinant for how important vigilance with skin antisepsis was perceived for reducing infections. Nearly 80 percent of infection preventionists said they use CHG products for patient skin antisepsis, compared with only 53 percent of other healthcare professionals.

The survey results also revealed that healthcare workers view hand hygiene as the most important factor in reducing infection following an in-patient medical procedure, as opposed to a preventative measure.

HAIs pose a major public health problem to the United States as patients who develop the infections have longer hospital stays, use more healthcare resources and are at greater risk for readmission and death.

"Given that microorganisms on patients' skin are a primary cause of HAIs, skin antisepsis should be a top priority for institutions," said Morrison. "Fortunately, skin antisepsis measures are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement."

For more:
- read the press release
- check out the Infection Control Today piece