Patient Bathing


We all value cleanliness, it’s good for self-esteem and social acceptance. It reduces germs on the skin, and leaves us smelling fresh. It helps maintain skin integrity and avoid breakdown or infection. Cleanliness is important, but cleanliness is also a challenge.

In geriatric and immobile patients, skin can become less resilient, less elastic and thinner due to the loss of subdermal fat. That means the skin may be more sensitive and prone to injury including pressure ulcers thus making the need to take special care is it that much more important.

The practise of good patient hygiene is mandatory however the traditional basin bathing method may be preventing the patient from receiving the best possible care.  Medline has developed a complete bathing system that is a gentle, hypoallergenic, eliminates cross contamination and is cost effective. Patient bathing is a habitual need and Medline is offering a product that will do more than keep them clean and happy, it will keep patients healthy.  


The Water

Although numerous sources within a hospital can cause nosocomial outbreaks perhaps the most overlooked, important and controllable source of nosocomial pathogens is hospital water.² Pathogens can create potent biofilms in hospital pipes, hot water tanks and sink sand faucets.³ Minimising exposure to tap water is inexpensive and effective.

The Basin

Basin bathing is widely practised throughout hospitals and other healthcare facilities yet it is full of problems that can potentially harm patients. Starting with the plastic wash basin, even if it is disinfected between uses they are often used as catch all bins for patient supplies – or even emesis. In a published study, 98% of all basins tested in a healthcare facility grew bacteria – including S. aureus, VRE, MRSA, P. Aeruginosa, C. albicans and E. coli.¹ 

Bath Consistency

Bed bathing typically uses soap, tap water, and other cleansers. However, the bath and products used may vary from one caregiver to another which can yield different results. This lack of consistency can lead to confusion and misinterpretation by the patient or their family.

The Linens

Healthcare linens such as washcloths are usually purchased with value in mind, so they’re often not the softest textiles available. Rough when new, the shredding cotton fibers during extreme laundering conditions add to the potential for abrasiveness on delicate skin. Basin baths also require towels and additional bed linens due to drips and spills making more work and time for the healthcare professional.

¹ Johnson D, Lineweaver L, Maze L. Patients’ bath basins as potential sources of infection: a multicenter sampling study. Am. J Crit Care. 2009; 18:31-40.
² Anaissie E, Penzak S, Digani C. The hospital water supply as a source of nosocomial infections. Arch intern Med. 2002;162:1483-1492.
³ Exner M, Kramer A, Lajoie L, et al. Prevention and control of health care associated waterborne infections in health care facilities. Am J Infect Control. 2005;33:S26-S40.

More Sanitary

The use of disposable wipes eliminates the disadvantages of basins, tap water, used linens, and inconsistent product use. Single use packs minimise the risk of cross contamination because there is no use of a bath basin or re-dipping of washcloths causing a potential bacterial burden. Reducing the patient contact with shared patient supplies, such as the basin, will decrease their possibility of exposure to bacteria.

The tap water used in patient bathing could also be a potential cause of nosocomial outbreaks, decreasing contact with it is inexpensive yet effective.¹ Using disposable wipes eradicates the need for tap water.

Staff Satisfaction

With wipes there would be no need to carry heavy water filled basins to patient rooms, no chance of spilling and creating hazardous walk areas in the hospital. There would be no need for dipping and wringing out of linens making for a faster prep and clean giving the healthcare professional more time to tend to other important things.

Patient Comfort

Using a single use wipe ensures that the cloth will be soft and gentle on the skin. Wipes have not gone through the same wear and tear from repeated use that the cloths in traditional basin bathing have. Patient comfort should be of the utmost importance. Using a rough and frayed cloth on already fragile skin could be uncomfortable and may cause further damage.

Standardised Cleansing

By using single use bathing wipes the hospital or other healthcare facility is ensuring consistent care. Each bath will be given with an easy to follow protocol, the same type of soap or cleanser and each wipe will be soft and new every time. Single use wipes in patient bathing is a way to provide patients with a better bath at an affordable price.


¹ Anaissie E, Penzak S, Digani C. The hospital water supply as a source of nonsocial infections. Arch intern Med. 2002;162:1483-1492

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