Study gives bathing gloves thumbs-up

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Nursing homes could save money and improve resident skin care by using disposable wash gloves rather than giving traditional soap-and-water bed baths, according to recently published research.

The study involved 500 residents and 275 nurses from 56 nursing home wards in the Netherlands. Caregivers gave half of the residents bed baths using “no-rinse disposable wash gloves” made of non-woven waffled fibers containing skin cleanser and lotion. The other half received traditional bed baths using water, soap, washcloths and towels.

After six weeks, the “no water” group had slightly fewer skin abnormalities and lesions, according to investigators from Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen. Costs were comparable, with a $285 (218 euro) mean cost for the “no water” group and a $304 (232 euro) mean cost for the control group.

“Washing without water can be considered the more efficient alternative,” the authors wrote in the study abstract. They also noted that the use of disposable wash gloves is becoming increasingly common in long-term care.

Findings from the study appear in the International Journal of Nursing Studies