Bedbound patients or residents

Maintaining good personal hygiene is an essential part of long term care, but with many residents unable to perform everyday activities on their own, due to chronic illness or disability, bathing can become increasingly difficult.

Many people rely on the support of care workers, or home-care visits to provide dignified, safe and compassionate personal care. But for many members of our community, conditions keeping them from showering or bathing is making ‘bed bathing’ a permanent way of life.

With NICE guidelines highlighting the requirement for a re-focus on improving the patient experience, we are taking a closer look at caring for bed bound patients, especially when it comes to personal hygiene.

 

Providing choice in personal care

Providing choice when it comes to bathing and empowering individuals to care for themselves wherever possible, is fast becoming a key topic of conversation in the shift towards patient-centred care.

Shared decision‐making, between a caregiver and dependents, is currently being widely discussed across professional care settings.

A recent article published by the Nursing Times, suggested “it is important to offer patients the opportunity to participate in their own care, which helps to maintain their independence, self-esteem and dignity”  (Nurse Consultant -  Rotherham Foundation Trust;  Nursing Time (2019) )

 

Moreover, The Alzheimer's Society, a UK research charity for people with dementia and their carers, suggest “Involve the person in decisions around washing -  Giving them a simple choice of two options can help.”

 

Caring for bedbound patients

Bed-bound care is often thought to limit personal hygiene options for those most vulnerable, or receiving palliative care. With care worker time stretched thinly, are there really ‘options’ when it comes to bed bathing? Ultimately, the answer is ‘yes’. The outdated approach to washing a patient in bed, with a damp reusable flannel, alongside the potential stigma or infection risk that brings, should now be a thing of the past. Similarly, prolonged periods without hair cleansing, or hair cleansing taking place through the uncomfortable repositioning of patients in bed, doesn’t support optimal safety and protection for care workers & residents, and other options are readily available.

 

Best practice for bed bathing patients

We’ve mentioned already, maintaining hygiene standards is a fundamental aspect of care, and the bed bathing options available on the market today, reflect that. Disposable washbowls and waterless bathing solutions should be used concurrently to deliver best practice in personal hygiene and care. There are a number of bathing options which meet the varying and diverse needs of long term care facilities:

 

 

The plastic-free, disposable washbowl and washcloth combination was developed to meet demand from infection prevention specialists who identified that reusable bowls and flannels presented a significant infection risk.

 

 

The large washcloths and shampoo caps contain a unique combination of cleansers to help remove sweat, dirt, urine and faeces from the skin and hair. A comfortable, therapeutic bed bathing solution without the issues associated with soap and water 

How to wash a bed-bound patient’s hair

In many cases, hair washing is achieved my manually re-positioning a patient’s head towards the edge of the bed, whilst employing reusable washbowls, towels and waterproof mats.

This technique is neither dignified for patients, nor easy for caregivers to conduct. Moreover, those with a fear of water or cognitive impairment may resist this method, opting not to have their hair cleaned at all.

The Oasis® Shampoo Cap helps to eliminate these problems, and provide choice for those receiving care.

Pre-impregnated with a mild shampoo and conditioner, a massaging action releases cleansers into the hair and hydrophilic (water-loving) fabric absorbs any oil and dirt, retaining it within the cap. The ‘no-rinse’ solution ensures hair dries in minutes, and the need for water around the face is eliminated.

Find out more about the Oasis® Better Bed Bathing Range

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