Background: Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) has been shown to reduce the microbial load at intravascular (IV) catheter insertion sites and the risk of catheter-related infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence subsequently recommended CHG-containing IV dressings for specific clinical indications.

Aim: To evaluate clinical staff perceptions of a standard transparent IV dressing in comparison to a transparent IV dressing incorporating a 2% (w/w) CHG gel pad when used at the insertion site of short-term central venous catheters and vascular access catheters for dialysis in adult critical care patients.

Methods: Following a 9-month trial period during which a CHG dressing was introduced to critical care patients at a university hospital, the staff perception of this dressing in comparison to a standard transparent IV dressing was evaluated by a questionnaire. The number of dressing changes required and skin condition under the dressing was also determined in a proportion of patients.

Results: The majority of the clinical staff (70 out of 81 respondents) considered the performance of the IV dressing containing a CHG gel pad better or much better than the standard dressing, and 77 out of 78 of the respondents recommended continuing its use. Both types of dressing performed well when applied to the insertion site of IV catheters in the internal jugular, subclavian, or femoral vein.

Conclusions: Staff satisfaction with the IV dressing incorporating a CHG gel pad was rated good, and the dressing performed well in a diverse group of critical care patients.

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