There is published data to support the problems of healthcare and hospital acquired infections (HAI) associated with ‘traditional’ hospital basin bathing equipment. The ABLiS™ device consists of an antimicrobial-impregnated, reusable wash basin and a single-use antimicrobial liner, delivering delivers safe, comfortable and effective bathing. When used with recommended infection control procedures, ABLiS™ can reduce the risk of cross-infection when patient-assisted washing is being performed.
It provides a cost-effective, practical way of ensuring infection control in hospitals, nursing homes and home environments.
The Health Burden of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) result in a large health- and cost-burden worldwide [3,4]. The demand on NHS resources comes from an increasing number of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and from an increasing number of chronically ill or immunologically compromised patients who are susceptible to hospital-acquired ‘opportunistic’ infections .
As an example of this dual problem, the impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on health costs and morbidity and mortality in hospital patients in the UK is well documented. In 2008, the Royal College of Physicians commissioned a financial risk management analysis that showed that during that year, 5,000 people in England were infected with MRSA . In 2008, the treatment of MRSA cost the NHS more than £45-million, with the estimate that every new case of MRSA cost the NHS £9,000 . In 2011, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its reported data on MRSA and Clostridium difficile, with recommendations for infection prevention . In 2012, the Department of Health Policy Research Programme commissioned a report on the economic burden of antimicrobial resistance with the focus on opportunistic bacteria acquired within hospital .
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have estimated that between 8% and 12% of patients now admitted to hospitals in European countries suffer from healthcare-associated adverse events, with HAIs being the most prominent of them . HAIs now affect more than 4 million patients annually in the European Union (EU) Member States and these infections result in approximately 37,000 deaths per year . The Council of the EU has recently launched a recommendation to the Member States and the Commission to prevent HAIs and to promote patient safety by institutional, community, and national action plans . Between 20% and 30% of all HAIs are preventable by improved infection control measures [9,10].
Bath Basins as a Potential Source of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI)
There are two types of bed baths used in hospitals, nursing homes and community care: the traditional basin which uses soap and water, and the disposable bath which is pre-packed in single-use units and which is usually heated before use. Bath basins can be a reservoir for bacteria and may be a source of transmission of HAIs [4,11].
In 2015, a study of 58 patients compared the traditional basin bed bath to a disposable bed bath . In this study, four factors were considered: duration and quality of the bath; cost; nurse satisfaction and patient satisfaction . The nurses in this study clearly preferred the disposable baths, and so did the majority of patients . In the case of disposable baths, the costs were lower as significantly less time was used in bathing . The decision of the authors of this study was that nurses should inform patients about the two methods and involve patients in the decision about which method to use .
The Advantage of the ABLiS™ – Antimicrobial Basin and Liner System
The ABLiS™ system is latex-free, basin washer compatible, ergonomically designed and has an anti-microbial disposable liner system. The ABLiS™ system is impregnated with a combination of proven, effective antimicrobial agents.
Cost is minimal: the basin is priced at circa £8.00, with the cost of the liner and dispenser being a matter of pence, but dependent on quantity.
With the increasing awareness of infection control, from recent findings of nurse and patient preference, and in keeping with UK and European guidelines on prevention of healthcare-acquired infection (HAI), the ABLiS™ system is recommended for patient bathing.