As pay for performance becomes more prevalent, hospitals struggle to improve processes, especially those for preventing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Many hospital programs seek out evidence-based “best practices” to keep patients safe from deadly and costly HAIs. Critical care nurses have begun examining even the most rudimentary tasks, such as bathing patients, and the processes inherently associated with them.

It has been suggested that a bathing procedure that focuses on decolonization may decrease HAI rates. This procedure routinely includes administration of a nasal antibacterial agent and then bathing patients with a solution of 2% to 4% chlorhexidine gluconate, each for a series of days. It has also been suggested that bath basins may be a source of bacterial transmission. Further, use of a bath basin may lead to contamination of other items such as the sink for hand washing. These suggestions bring into...

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