According to National Holiday and Insights, January is National Bath Safety Month, it is true – look it up www.holidayinsights.com . And because there is never an easy sag way into caregiving bathing techniques we are going to use this as a platform.
There is actually an excellent way to help a person being cared for to bath. This is especially important when the person has dementia. Our family and friends have suffered so many indignities while have medical treatments, tests and exams that anywhere we can help to preserve their dignity and self-image is extremely important.
Bathing is kind of a ritual and as such if approached in this way will allow both parties to keep their self-respect. First, let’s lay out the clothing to be worn after the bath. Lay these clothes out on a bed or dresser beginning with the outer layer first (pants and shirt), second place the underwear garments on top of those including socks. By doing this you have a method to dressing them which will go smoothly and in an orderly manner we are fostering independence. This allows you to move through this ritual with little thought and our patient, friend or family member will understand and be more willing to help or allow this to take place.
Next, getting the shower or bath ready prior to bring our person in is very important. With the shower running or the bath drawn, approach our person with professional confidence to help disrobe. Do not pull and tug, speak calm, confidently and explain each thing we do. Quickly with a foot move the discarded clothing (completely out of the way for entering and exiting the bath or shower, and help our person into the water. You will have already made sure the water is the right temperature prior to disrobing and the room is a comfortable temperature for them.
Now calmingly and confidently without looking directly at our person begin to instruct them in bathing. If this is not enough, use the following technique; get soap on a washcloth and place the washcloth in our persons hand, with our hand on the top of their hand move their hand and washcloth in a washing manner. We should not touch the skin of their body only the back of their hand. Use the same method when washing hair, just not the washcloth. Make sure they have rinsed thoroughly and help them dry in the same manner. Please be sure they dry all body parts as the folds of the skin are very sensitive in the elderly and disabled. With the towel wrapped around them go to the clothing laid out prior to the bath. Now they can dress from the skin out. Using this method will create an atmosphere of dignity and safety for our person.