Gowning does not affect colonization or infection rates in a neonatal intensive care unit

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994 Oct;148(10):1016-20. 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.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / epidemiology
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Hawaii
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infection Control / economics
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient / prevention & control
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Clothing / economics
  • Protective Clothing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology