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Nurses back single-use system for washing and toileting

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Single-use systems for washing and toileting immobile patients are preferred by nurses to reusable receptacles, according to researchers in Singapore.

Nurses perceive single-use systems as being more hygienic, convenient, and safer than alternative reusable systems, found a survey of staff at the 1,100-bed National University Hospital Singapore.

“Single-use disposable receptacles were perceived by nurse users as superior”

Study authors

In March 2014, it converted from a traditional system of reusable receptacles to a single-use disposable pulp receptacle system supplied by the company Vernacare.

The hospital removed all reusable plastic bedpans, urinals, wash bowls and other receptacles from its wards and converted to the same system that is used in 94% of NHS hospitals.

Sanitizers were replaced with disposal units and plastic receptacles were replaced with disposable products made from renewable fibre.

Almost 12 months later, researchers undertook a large survey questionnaire of more than 900 nurses to investigate user acceptance, perceptions, and any areas for improvement.

The survey covered areas such as satisfaction, hygiene, ease-of-use, reliability and infection control value.

Responses to all questions showed significantly greater support for the single-use system, said the researchers.

They said this contrasted with negative perceptions of reusable receptacles, which were perceived as more offensive, less efficient and more likely to cause nosocomial infections.

“The disposable pulp receptacle system was seen to be more convenient, more hygienic, and less of a risk in spreading infectious diseases,” said the study authors in the American Journal of Infection Control.

In addition, nurses reported that patients regarded disposable products as more hygienic and less likely to cause healthcare associated infections. They also perceived that patients felt more comfortable using a single-use disposable receptacle.

Meanwhile, nurses said they believed that disposal units were “less smelly and noisy” than sanitizers when in operation, and contributed to perceptions of a cleaner and more pleasant environment.

The authors stated: “Our survey confirms the single-use disposable receptacles were perceived by nurse users as superior to reusable receptacles in all areas assessed.”

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