Patients in the NICU are at risk for skin breakdown due to prematurity, frequent irritant exposure (feces), medical status and stress. There is a need to proactively minimize/prevent skin damage and rash and to reduce the risk of skin associated infections.
Recently, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Regional Center for Newborn Intensive Care (RCNIC) proposed and conducted a research study with an innovative approach to study the effects of skin care practices, i.e. diaper care. They compared a wipe cleansing system (Pampers Sensitive Wipes) versus the current standard of care, cloth (4 x 4 gauze) and sterile water.
Subjects were randomized to the treatments based on gestational age (birth) and the presence of visible diaper irritation. Preliminary results are based on 64 subjects ranging from 24 to 41 (mean 34) weeks gestational age.
At baseline, all infants had used the standard of care - 4 x 4 and water. Skin erythema scores were highest for the perineal and intertriginous locations while rash scores were highest for the intertriginous area. At treatment days 5, 7, and 14, the perineal region erythema (fig. 1) and local (perineal) erythema scores (fig. 2) were significantly lower for the wipes infants than for those using 4 x 4 and water. The local area erythema score refers to the measurement from the perineal area where the rash score was highest for those with skin irritation/rash at the start of the enrollment period.