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The effect of an acidic cleanser versus soap on the skin pH and micro-flora of adult patients: a non-randomised two group crossover study in an intensive care unit

Duncan, C.N., Riley, T.V., Carson, K.C., Budgeon, C.A. and Siffleet, J. (2013) The effect of an acidic cleanser versus soap on the skin pH and micro-flora of adult patients: a non-randomised two group crossover study in an intensive care unit. Intensive & Critical Care Nursing, 29 (5). pp. 291-296.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.iccn.2013.03.005
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Abstract

OBJECTIVES
To test the effects of two different cleansing regimens on skin surface pH and micro-flora, in adult patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Forty-three patients were recruited from a 23-bed tertiary medical/surgical ICU. The nineteen patients in Group One were washed using soap for daily hygiene care over a four week period. In Group 2, 24 patients were washing daily using an acidic liquid cleanser (pH 5.5) over a second four week period. Skin pH measurements and bacterial swabs were sampled daily from each for a maximum of ten days or until discharged from the ICU.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Skin surface pH and quantitative skin cultures (colony forming units).

FINDINGS
Skin pH measurements were lower in patients washed with pH 5.5 cleanser than those washed with soap. This was statistically significant for both the forearm (p = 0.0068) and leg (p = 0.0015). The bacterial count was not statistically significantly different between the two groups. Both groups demonstrated that bacterial counts were significantly affected by the length of stay in ICU (p = 0.0032).

CONCLUSION
This study demonstrated that the product used in routine skin care significantly affects the skin pH of ICU patients, but not the bacterial colonisation. Bacterial colonisation of the skin increases with length of stay.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
Copyright: © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/34073
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