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  • Replacing Showers with Bath Cloths Reduces Nurse Workload, Skin Tears, and Costs - Study
Replacing Showers with Bath Cloths Reduces Nurse Workload, Skin Tears, and Costs - Study

Replacing Showers with Bath Cloths Reduces Nurse Workload, Skin Tears, and Costs - Study

  • Reduced risk of skin tears: HiCare bath cloths help minimize the occurrence of skin tears among frail aged residents.
  • Cost savings: Implementing HiCare bath cloths can lead to cost savings for laundry and wound dressings.
  • Decreased nursing workload: The use of HiCare bath cloths reduces the number of showers performed by nurses, freeing up their time for other important tasks.
  • Improved resident comfort: Bathing with HiCare cloths provides a gentle and comfortable bathing experience for residents.
  • Enhanced resident safety: By avoiding traditional showers, the risk of slips and falls is reduced, promoting resident safety.
  • Minimized manual handling risks: HiCare bath cloths require less physical effort and manual handling, reducing the risk of strain or injury to both residents and caregivers.
  • Time efficiency: The use of HiCare bath cloths optimizes bathing processes, allowing for more efficient time management.
  • Resource optimization: By reducing the need for laundry and wound dressings, HiCare bath cloths help optimize resources in aged care facilities.

Skin tears are a prevalent issue among elderly residents in aged care facilities, often leading to significant discomfort and pain, particularly during dressing changes. Not only do these skin tears burden caregivers with increased workloads and elevated wound care costs, but they primarily result from manual handling activities, such as bathing, dressing, and repositioning, further adding to the emotional and physical strain experienced by both residents and caregivers. This report delves into the successful implementation of an innovative approach to address this challenge in a high-care dementia unit, emphasizing the replacement of conventional showers with HiCare™ bath cloths.

The principal objectives of this study encompassed measuring and mitigating the prevalence of skin tears, substituting traditional showers with HiCare™ bath cloths, lightening the load on caregivers, reducing laundry expenses, and introducing a new showering routine for residents. The overarching aim was to enhance the quality of care delivered to elderly residents while simultaneously fostering a more favourable working environment for caregivers.

In the course of this study, the customary daily showers gave way to HiCare™ bath cloths, non-alcoholic and disposable cloth alternatives provided by Human Technologies®. Care staff underwent on-site training to ensure the proper utilization of HiCare™ bath cloths, while data collection efforts encompassed assessing the time required for traditional bed-baths, HiCare™ baths, and showers, alongside estimating cost savings.

Prior to the introduction of HiCare™ bath cloths, the process of showering an immobile resident with the assistance of a mechanical lifter consumed up to 40 minutes, necessitating the efforts of two caregivers. In stark contrast, the fastest bed-bath involving HiCare™ bath cloths, facilitated by two caregivers, was completed within a mere 2 minutes. Over a six-week timeframe, there were no new occurrences of skin tears, representing a significant reduction in the incidence of such wounds.

The study found a remarkable 96% decrease in the prevalence of skin tears following the integration of HiCare™ bath cloths.

This reduction was consistent with findings from other studies that made the transition from conventional soap and water to a no-rinse bathing formula. Furthermore, the introduction of HiCare™ bath cloths significantly alleviated the workload on caregivers, with no reported instances of manual handling injuries throughout the use of these innovative cloths.

The adoption of HiCare™ bath cloths eliminated the need for towels, resulting in substantial reductions in laundry costs. Extra towels were frequently utilized to prevent slipping and increase laundry expenses.

Showers using an extra towel were estimated to cost $8.35 per resident per bed-bath/shower, as opposed to $1.59 for HiCare™ bath cloths.

This marked cost-efficiency underscores a more sustainable and effective approach to elderly care.

The implementation of HiCare™ bath cloths not only diminished the incidence of skin tears but also fostered an improved working environment for caregivers. The reduction in the number of daily showers and associated manual handling procedures granted caregivers more time to dedicate to crucial tasks, such as ensuring proper nutrition, hydration, and engagement with residents. This transformation in work practices not only benefited the well-being of the residents by minimizing their discomfort and apprehensions but also elevated the overall morale and job satisfaction of the caregivers.

The success of this intervention serves as a testament to the profound impact that innovative approaches can have on enhancing the quality of life for both elderly residents and caregivers. This shift signifies a significant stride forward in the provision of compassionate care, aligning with broader initiatives to curtail costs and promote sustainability within the healthcare sector.

It is essential to underline that the authors of this report have not received any form of compensation from HiCare™ or any other bath cloth manufacturer. Their endorsement of HiCare™ bath cloths is grounded solely on the positive impact observed during the study.

The authors extend their heartfelt appreciation to Human Technologies® for generously providing HiCare™ bath cloths for the purpose of this trial. They would also like to express their special gratitude to the dedicated nurses whose enthusiasm and support were instrumental in the resounding success of this innovative initiative.

The study is conducted by Catherine Anne Sharp and Julie Campbell.

Please read the full report available for download here, and speak to SSS Australia about a sample of HiCare™ bath today.

Sharp, C., & Campbell, J. . (2022). Reducing skin tears, workload, and costs in the frail aged: replacing showers with bath cloths. Asian Journal of Medical Sciences13(2), 181–184.

Check out the range of HiCare bathing products here.

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