SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — In a shift in patient hygiene and personal bathing procedures, St. John’sHospital, a member of the Sisters of Mercy Health System, has made far-reaching changes to stop the threat of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as MRSA, C. difficile and VRE. Instead of the traditional bedside basin bath or using alcohol-based sanitizers on patients, nurses and staff now use an all-natural skin cleanser and protectant called Theraworx™ to bathe and fortify patients’ skin against the growing threats posed by so-called superbugs.
Following extensive testing by independent labs and the St. John’s Medical Research Institute, critical-care nurses began using the Theraworx waterless bathing system on high-risk patients in late 2007 in the neuron-trauma unit. In-vitro testing proved the all-natural, alcohol-free solution is greater than 99.99 percent effective against a broad array of organisms. It provides coverage against MRSA, Clostridium difficile, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, Candida albicans and an array of bacteria, fungi and viruses, even after three hours.
After a successful 240 patient-day pilot study found Theraworx highly effective, it has become the primary patient bathing system used in St. John’s ICUs, including medical and surgical floors. Following an enthusiastic reception by nurses and patients alike, the medical staff in the orthopedic and general surgery units asked to expand use of the bathing system in their wards. St. John’s will likely provide the bathing system at other Sisters of Mercy Health System’s facilities in the near future.
“When we considered how we could really protect patients, we took an in-depth look at the infection risks associated with the basin bath. We realized the soap-and-water bath is a conduit for colonization and we needed a superior method to clean and boost patient safety,” noted William Sistrunk, MD, infectious disease specialist and medical director of infection prevention at St. John's Health System. “Both patients and nurses were overwhelmingly positive about how effective Theraworx has performed and how good it feels on their skin. We know it provides residual efficacy for compliance, plus the peace of mind that we’re not spreading contamination.”
Theraworx has shown to be quite effective with its skin moisturizing, re-hydrating and nourishing properties, while helping protect wounds against invasive germs. The pH-balanced solution contains natural reinforcing ingredients that nurture the skin and promote the body’s native mechanism for killing bacteria. Alcohol-based products evaporate instantly and provide no sustained protection. Lab tests have confirmed the long-lasting duration of action of Theraworx, which retains its effectiveness for hours, plus it is certified non-toxic and a non-irritant, unlike alcohol.
St. John’s officials were aware of staff and patient concerns over the increased potential for HAIs. The hospital ranks better than average or at par in fighting infections when compared to other Missouri hospitals according to state criteria and reporting. However, facing coming changes in regulatory, compliance and reimbursement policies the 866-bed referral medical center took this proactive step in the battle against dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria, viruses and fungi to demonstrate leadership in infection control and an even higher level of commitment to patient safety and protection.
“The focus of the research institute has always been to identify acute care issues and find solutions that do not currently exist. After we investigated the patient bathing and skin care environments in hospitals we realized that there had to be a better, healthy choice,” said Dr. Roger Huckfeldt, medical director at St. John’s Medical Research Institute and partner in Avadim LLC, which produces Theraworx. “We’re confident that the preliminary trial findings validate the changes we instituted at St. John’s. We want to share and further our knowledge, experience and the benefits of Theraworx with infection control professionals to aid in the fight against HAIs.”
The patented Theraworx formulation and family of products contain no skin-drying alcohols, glycols or harsh ingredients. The waterless bathing system is available on pre-moistened soft cloths in either total-body bath or personal clean-up sizes. The single-use, four-ply non-woven cloths eliminate the need for towel and laundry service in hospital settings, as well as control cross contamination upon disposal. For individual use when there is no access to soap and water, there is a convenient 2-ounce bottle that provides approximately 150 applications, and an economy-sized 8-ounce bottle, both fitted with a foaming non-aerosol pump top.