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The experience of removing soap from St Vincent’s University Hospital

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THE EXPERIENCE OF REMOVING SOAP FROM ST VINCENT’S UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL

 

BACKGROUND

50% of our organisation’s patient population is older than 75 years of age. This population is at greater risk of skin damage.

An audit of personal hygiene practices for 100 patients showed that soap was provided alongside multiple creams for patients and there was no rationale for use of one product over another.

 

AIMS/OBJECTIVES

The aim was to remove soap completely from the hospital and reduce patient’s risk of skin tears and protect skin from effects of moisture and friction by developing an evidence based skin care protocol.

 

METHODS

Nursing experts from Dermatology, Tissue Viability and Practice Development devised a protocol based on evidence-based practice.

1)Agreement was reached to remove soap from all wards and use two products for washing and moisturising patient’s skin
A.A non-soap based cleaner
B.An emollient
 
2)In consultation with Pharmacy and the Stores department:
2 designated products were made available as general stock items (Silcock’s Base and Emulsifying Ointment)
All other products had to be ordered as non-stock items
 
3)A targeted education programme was rolled out hospital wide to inform staff of practice changes and standardisation of skin care
 
4)A re-audit was carried out 8 months after soap was removed from wards
 

OUTCOMES/RESULTS

A cost analysis for the project estimated a saving of approximately €15,000 per year
Other cost saving measures including patient bed days, delayed discharges and skin tear management costs are more difficult to relate directly to the project 
 

PLAN FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Staff adopted the new regime once educated on evidence based practice. We will continue with ward based education and the regime will be integrated in nursing hospital policy and become mainstream practice.

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