Pre-operative bathing and showering – What are the benefits?

Martin Kiernan 1

1 Gama Healthcare

Supported by AMCLA

The most recent update of the Cochrane Review into preoperative bathing with antiseptics found no new evidence to add to the guideline and so the most recent study included in this documents dates from 1992. A multitude of more recent peer-reviewed, non-RCT studies have demonstrated some value to this measure and many surgeons advocate and promote this practice as evidenced by a recent paper that notes that 91% of all patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting in California were bathed preoperatively, despite it not being included in guidelines. This paper will review the evidence and examine possible reasons for the ‘non-effectiveness’ of this intervention with particular reference to methods of application and patient compliance through education and the use of prompts.

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