Issue Date: 21 June 2011
SOFT CARE BODY WASH GLOVES ARE MORE EFFECTIVE FOR INFECTION CONTROL THAN SOAP & WATER
Diversey Study Identifies Cleaning, Ergonomic and Cost Savings of New Wipes
Research conducted by Diversey has demonstrated the infection control, occupational health and cost saving benefits of cleaning patients in care homes and hospitals with disposable wipes instead of traditional soap and water. Studies carried out at a care home showed that wipes lowered the risk of cross contamination between patients, lessened exposure to pathogens for nurses and other care staff and reduced contamination around wash basins. Furthermore, using wipes reduced the time taken to wash each patient by 50 per cent and lessened the physical stress on carer’s backs by 30 per cent and shoulders by 27 per cent.
“The research clearly shows that due to the design and high quality of the material used the disposable wipes reduce the risk of cross infection for patients and make routine tasks simpler and safer for healthcare professionals,” says Melanie Witt, Marketing Manager for Personal Care & Infection Control for Diversey, Europe. “Our latest innovation combines this superior infection control performance with a novel glove design that makes it even easier to specify and use disposable wipes. Together with the proof we have generated around the ergonomic benefits for health care workers this is a unique offering.”
The new disposable Soft Care Body Wash Gloves are manufactured from non-woven synthetic fibres and are shaped like a glove for convenience. The active ingredient is a blend of surfactants, impregnated into the wipe and formulated to give superior hygiene while remaining safe and gentle for the patient and carer during prolonged contact. Thousands of tiny needle-sized holes cover the wipe so that the active ingredients are released at the proper rate. The product has been dermatologically tested to prove safety in use.
The trials conducted by Diversey during 2009/10 measured the amount of contamination at the test site to provide a benchmark before the introduction of the new wipes. This included taking bacteriological samples from hard surfaces and wash basins. All samples were tested by an independent laboratory to provide an accurate measure of contamination levels.
The study found that water became heavily contaminated with bacteria when washing patients with soap and water. This contamination can be transferred to otherwise uninfected patients and clean surfaces by water splashes and spills or when carers inadvertently touch surfaces with their hands as they move around a ward after using a cloth. The average number of colony forming units (CFU) was 60.3 near wash bowls and 34 near wash basins when using soap and water.
A separate laboratory test measured the amount of bacteria on hands after washing a patient with water and with a wash wipe. This showed that the wipes left almost no trace of bacteria on the hands whereas hands used for washing patients with water were heavily contaminated.
The second part of the study investigated the ergonomic and efficiency benefits of the wipes over soap and water using a range of industry-standard measurement techniques. When washing with soap and water the patient is undressed, wiped with a wet hand cloth, rinsed and then dried using a towel before being redressed. The average time needed to wash each patient this way was 15 minutes. However, with the wipes the average wash time was 12 minutes, a reduction of 20 per cent, largely because the patient is wiped once and there is no need to rinse or dry them. The time spent on the washing component of the process was reduced by half.
The study also studied the occupational health benefits for carers. They make fewer movements when washing patients with a wipe and spend 30 per cent less time each hour bending over more than 20o and 27 per cent less time raising their arms more than 20o. This reduces significantly the risk of stress and related injuries in the lower back and shoulder.
The final stage of the study assessed the potential cost savings of switching to Soft Care Body Wash Gloves. With wet washing each patient required a bowl with four litres of water, one towel, three wash cloths, personal soap and a pair of disposable latex gloves for the carer. With the new washing method each patient required a pack of five wipes, the occasional use of a towel and a pair of disposable latex gloves for the carer. Switching to Soft Care Body Wash Gloves therefore eliminates the purchase costs of all the hand cloths, soap and most towels as well as the running costs associated with supplying and heating water and laundering the hand cloths and towels. Details will vary from site to site but the cost of the wipes can normally be offset by these savings.