Preventing ICU nosocomial infections - L'Infirmière Magazine n° 265 du 20/10/2010 | Espace Infirmier

L'infirmière Magazine n° 265 du 20/10/2010



Nosocomial infections continue to be a serious complication and threat to ICU patients. Basic nursing skills and knowledge are of prime importance in the prevention of such healthcare-associated infections (HCAI). However, research(1) shows that critical-care nurses demonstrate poor knowledge of evidence-based recommendations for infection prevention and control. The meticulous implementation of such measures may lead to significantly improved patient and process outcomes. Many preventive strategies are considered to be easy to implement and inexpensive. Good practice includes :

→ The surveillance of infections : producing accurate and timely data on infection rates and trends.

→ Monitoring of hospital hygiene : cleaning ; housekeeping ; disinfection or sterilization of instruments and equipment ; safe collection and disposal of clinical waste ; kitchen hygiene…

→ The wearing of workwear which does not impede effective hand hygiene, does not come into contact with patients during direct care activity… False nails, rings, earrings other than studs, and necklaces are also to be avoided(2).

1 – Prevention of nosocomial infections in intensive care patients, John Wiley and Sons, Nursing in Critical Care. Sept. 2010 Vol. 15 issue 5, pp : 251-6. Vandijck DM, Labeau SO, Vogelaers DP, Blot SI.

2 – Guidance on uniform and workwear policies for NHS employers 26 March 2010. See also, a site dedicated to infection control.


Nosocomial infections HCAI Health Care Associated Infections

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) = critical care soins intensifs

To lead to (v) mener à ; donner comme résultat

Evidence-based (adj) basé sur les faits Implementation (n) mise en pratique, en œuvre

Trend (n) tendance ; évolution

Rate (n) taux ; tarif

Disposal (n) élimination


1. What is described as “poor” ?

Nurses’ knowledge about the recommendations for infection prevention and control.

2. Are many preventive strategies difficult and expensive to implement ?

No, many are easy to implement and inexpensive.

3. Give two criteria for correct workwear.

A workwear that does not impede good hand hygiene ; no rings, false nails, necklaces.

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