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Bed bath, Critical care, Nursing



  1. Bernard, Melanie RN
  2. Godard, Baptiste RN
  3. Camara, Corika NA
  4. Gaultier, Alexandra RN
  5. Hudry, Cedric RN
  6. Marlot, Thibault RN
  7. Sergent, Jeremy RN
  8. Coadic, Delphine RN
  9. David, Vanessa RN
  10. Damoisel, Charles MD
  11. Sztrymf, Benjamin MD, PhD
  12. The ToNu investigators


Background: Despite data supporting the reduction of interactions with patients during nighttime, bed bathing is sometimes performed within this period in sedated patients unable to manage their own hygiene care.


Objectives: To compare patient physiologic variables and adverse effect incidence between night and day bed baths.


Methods: This was a single-center prospective observational study in a 12-bed intensive care unit during 2 months. Night period was defined to run from 10 PM to 6 AM. Night bed baths were provided to sedated ventilated patients whatever their sedation, if their Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale score was -2 or deeper. Bed bath-induced changes in physiological variables, treatments, and related unscheduled events were registered during both night and day bed baths.


Results: Twenty-one patients (aged 62.9 [52.5-73.2] years, 14 male patients) were included. We registered 97 night bed baths and 95 day bed baths. Heart rate increased only after day bed baths (85 beats/min [bpm] [69-97 bpm] vs 88 bpm [73-98 bpm], P = .02). Increase in Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale score occurred, respectively, during 13 (13.4%) and 8 (8.4%) night and day bed baths, without significant differences. Body temperature significantly decreased during both night and day bed baths (respectively, 37[degrees]C [36.6[degrees]C-37.4[degrees]C] vs 36.6[degrees]C [36.2[degrees]C-37.2[degrees]C], P < .0001; and 36.9[degrees]C [36.5[degrees]C-37.2[degrees]C] vs 36.7[degrees]C [36.2[degrees]C-37.2[degrees]C], P = .0006). Overall, unscheduled events, whether physiologic changes, pain, or calling a physician in rescue occurred in 97 procedures (50.5%), irrespective of their timing (night vs day, respectively 53% [54.6%] vs 44% [46.3%], P = .31).


Discussion: Although unscheduled events occurred in half of bed baths, differences evidenced between nighttime and daytime bed baths were scarce. The appropriateness of nighttime bed bathing remains questionable.