Central venous access and handwashing: variability in policies and practices.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Paediatr Nurs, 2003, 15 (10), pp. 14 - 18
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This study examined variability in handwashing policy between hospitals, variability in handwashing practices in nurses and how practice differed from policy in tertiary paediatric hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. Eight of the possible nine major paediatric hospitals provided a copy of their handwashing and/or central venous access device (CVAD) policies, and 67 nurses completed a survey on their handwashing practices associated with CVAD management. A high degree of variability was found in relation to all the questions posed in the study. There was little consistency between policies and little agreement between policies and clinical practice, with many nurses washing for longer than required by policy. Rigour of handwashing also varied according to the procedure undertaken and the type of CVAD with activities undertaken farther from the insertion site of the device more likely to be performed using a clean rather than an aseptic handwashing technique. As both patients and nursing staff move within and between hospitals, a uniform and evidence-based approach to handwashing is highly desirable.
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