Now available in the UK on NHS prescription!

The hidden cost of a shower cover

For far too long haemodialysis patients have been put at risk of serious infection through their catheter site. Additionally, they are often told to either avoid washing, or to use expensive shower covers to provide some protection from contamination.

These shower covers are typically inconvenient and unreliable, and when they are offered by the NHS are extremely wasteful. So much so, in fact, that they are banned in many regions of the UK.

What if a shower cover was not even needed?

That’s where the Cath Dry dressing comes in. It’s a sterile dressing that completely encloses the lumens. It is watertight to the skin so can be safely worn for showering, bathing, and swimming. Some patients report using it during other watersports. 

As well as being safer and more convenient, it lasts for several days between dialysis sessions, which makes it far more practical to wear. And of course it’s better for the environment when compared to shower covers that are removed after every shower.

As shower covers do not stick to the body reliably, the manufacturers of the most common shower covers advise patients to use additional glue and adhesive borders to hold them on, meaning they also need to apply a skin barrier cream and adhesive remover.

The unacceptable cost of shower covers – to patients and the NHS

Clearly if a shower cover requires all these ‘extras’ then there is significantly more waste, as well as hassle for the patient when it comes to applying and removing one. 

But what do we really mean when we say a shower cover is ‘expensive’? To patients, the prescription is typically free. But there’s a huge financial cost to the NHS that is hidden from most people’s eyes. 

A box of Cath Dry dressings comes with 12 dressings and 12 securing strips, that costs the NHS £86. If we assume that a patient has a shower every day, and dialysis every 3 days, that’s a month’s supply i.e. £86 per month.

By comparison, the current method is prescribing a shower cover – essentially a wound protection pouch – such as VAP1. A patient would typically need 3 boxes, 30 removal wipes, 30 barrier film wipes, 1 remover spray and 10 dressings – per month. That’s a cost of around £426 per month.

Can it really make sense for a clinician to prescribe a shower cover that’s £340 more expensive per month than a clinically better alternative?

While a shower cover and Cath Dry may look similar, there really is no comparison. Not only does Cath Dry significantly reduce risk of infection, it can save the NHS as much as £4080 per year, while enhancing a patient’s quality of life in the process.

See the financial case for Cath Dry here