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Economic comparison of the traditional bathing method with the basinless bathing method in coma patients


The coma patient is a particular and unique patient: he depends completely on the caregivers, more than a neonate. The bed bath of a coma patient is important to maintain his personal hygiene, to clean and refresh, to monitor skin condition and to promote comfort. Modern ICU management must offer a high quality of coma patient care and should be constantly fighting for cost-effective ways of providing that care.


The aim of this study was to compare the traditional bed-bathing method with the basinless bed-bathing method. The study focused on nurse satisfaction or acceptance, and the costs of two methods. The study comprised 100 baths of coma patients: 50 completed using the Comfort Bath® (a prepackaged disposable bed bath) and 50 completed using the traditional method. In addition, 30 nurses were recruited and interviewed about their preferences and opinions. The economic study type was cost-minimization and, in part, cost-effectiveness analysis.


For skin softness, administration ease, and nurse satisfaction, there were statistical variations between the two sets of scores, in favour of the Comfort Bath® method. Nurses expressed a clear and significant preference for the disposable bath, corroborating findings by other investigators [1]. The direct costs were: for the soap, water, laundry, equipment and labour, for the time taken to perform the bed-bathing, for logistics and depreciation. The overall cost was less for the disposable bath due to savings in nurses' time and salary (Table 1).

Table 1 Costs of bath technology required


The present study confirmed that Comfort Bath®, a one-step bed bath, is an economic and preferred alternative to the basin of water. Considering the cost-minimization, the cost-effective use and the significant preference, this prepackaged disposable bed bath symbolizes a new concept in coma patient hygiene.


  1. Larson EL, et al.: omparison of traditional and disposable bed baths in critically ill patients. Am J Crit Care 2004, 13: 235-241.

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Sucre, M., De Nicola, A. Economic comparison of the traditional bathing method with the basinless bathing method in coma patients. Crit Care 13 (Suppl 1), P459 (2009).

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