A descriptive study of bathing practices in acute care facilities in the United States

Published:August 29, 2018DOI:


      • Bath basins are potential reservoirs of microorganisms linked to health care–associated infections.
      • There were no standardized procedures for patient bathing.
      • Standardized procedures for use, storage, and disposal of bath basins are lacking.


      Patient bathing basins are a potential source of health care–acquired infections. This descriptive study was designed to describe current patient bathing procedures and the cleaning and storage of disposable bath basins after use.


      After instrument validation, a 20-item questionnaire designed by the researchers was delivered electronically to infection prevention professionals working in acute care facilities in the United States. Descriptive statistics including frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the data.


      A total of 344 participants completed the survey. Of those responding, most were employed in facilities with ≤300 beds and accredited by the Joint Commission. Many of the facility staff assisting patients with bathing were nursing aides. Participants reported varying bathing procedures in their facilities.


      A collaborative approach is needed to ensure standard and efficient procedures that focus on quality, safety, and patient satisfaction. A mechanism to continually evaluate patient bathing practices should also be developed to address evolving changes in the health care system.

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