Bathing hospitalized dependent patients with prepackaged disposable washcloths instead of traditional bath basins: A case-crossover study

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HighlightsBasins used for patient bathing may become contaminated with resistant organisms.Disposal washcloths had no effect on prevention of infection in a randomized trial.Skin deterioration was less among patients bathed by disposable washcloth.Background:Basins used for patient bathing have been shown to be contaminated with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) and have prompted the evaluation of alternatives to soap and water bathing methods.Methods:We conducted a prospective, randomized, open-label interventional crossover study to assess the impact of replacing traditional bath basins with prepackaged washcloths on the incidence of hospital-associated infections (HAIs), MDROs, and secondarily, rates of skin deterioration. Unit-wide use of disposable washcloths over an 8-month period was compared with an 8-month period of standard care using basins.Results:A total of 2,637 patients were included from 2 medical-surgical units at a single tertiary medical center, contributing 16,034 patient days. During the study period, there were a total of 33 unit-acquired infections, the rates of which were not statistically different between study phases (incidence rate ratio, 1.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50-2.23; P = .88). However, occurrence of skin integrity deterioration was significantly less in the intervention group (odds ratio, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.22-0.88; P = .02).Conclusions:Although we were unable to demonstrate a significant reduction in HAI or MDRO acquisition, we found a decrease in skin deterioration with the use of disposable washcloths and confirmed earlier findings of MDRO contamination of wash basins.

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