A Quality Improvement Approach to Perineal Skin Care: Using Standardized Guidelines and Novel Diaper Wipes to Reduce Diaper Dermatitis in NICU Infants

Adv Neonatal Care. 2020 Sep 30. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000795. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Diaper dermatitis (DD) causes discomfort and emotional distress and creates possible sources of infection among newborn intensive care unit infants. Diaper dermatitis remains prevalent despite studies documenting an understanding of prevention and treatment modalities. Standardizing perineal skin care guidelines could reduce DD.

Purpose: Implement perineal skin care guidelines, while introducing novel diaper wipes, to decrease the incidence of DD by 20% within a 1-year period.

Methods: Our unit reviewed evidence-based literature to develop a standardized perineal care guideline for prevention and treatment, encompassing the use of novel, preservative-free diaper wipes with grapefruit seed extract. The outcome measures were the incidence and duration of DD. Process compliances were monitored. The balancing measure was the rate of fungal skin infection while using preservative-free wipes.

Findings: Between July 2017 and March 2019, 1070 infants were admitted for 1 or more days, with 11% of those being born at less than 30 weeks of gestational age. After guideline implementation in January 2018, the incidence of DD decreased by 16.7%. The incidence of severe cases dropped by 34.9%, with 3.5 days per 100 patient-days shortened duration. Process compliance was achieved. Neonates tolerated the novel wipes without increased fungal skin infection.

Implications for practice: The Perineal Skin Care Guidelines could reduce the rate and duration of DD. Newborn intensive care unit infants tolerated the novel diaper wipes.

Implications for research: Additional research on wipes containing other types of extracts or ingredients.