How to Bathe a Bedridden Person

How to Bathe a Bedridden Person

Since: Apr 10

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#1 Apr 29, 2010
Giving a bath to a person who is bedridden is an activity that has to be learned properly in order to ensure the comfort and safety of the patient.

There are easy techniques we can learn to care for our bedridden loved ones in an effective and loving way. The last thing we want is to cause them harm, thus, we must be very careful when moving them while giving them a bed bath, and we have understand that we will be bathing the person by body parts, not the whole body at once.

Here’s what you should do to bathe a bedridden person so that he or she feels truly clean:

1. Always keep the person’s bottom very clean, so that when bathing time comes, this body part is easier to take care of. Every time there is an incontinence incident, and after every bowel movement, wash the area thoroughly.

2. Get a small bathtub and fill it with warm water. You will need five washcloths and five small towels to clean the whole body, because these will be changed frequently to keep the water clean. You want the dirt to stay on the cloths, not the water. You can put a small amount of liquid soap into the water, but just a couple of drops so that it doesn’t feel soapy.

3. Adjust the room temperature and get rid of drafts so that the person is not cold. When the water gets cold, change it to ensure it always remains at a nice warm temperature.

4. Ensure there will be complete privacy while you are bathing your loved one, do not take any phone calls during the process, and focus on the person.

5. Expose body parts as you will be washing them, keep the rest covered to avoid chills.

6. Be cheerful as you bathe the person, talk to them, put some music on if they like it, and treat him or her as you would like to be treated.

7. To begin the bath, put the person on his or her back and expose the upper part of the body. Wet the washcloth with warm water and rub it on the patient’s face and neck, then, dip a towel into the water, squeeze the excess of liquid, and rub to rinse these body parts. Get another towel and dry them thoroughly. Discard the washcloth and rinsing towel; you can use the drying towel again.

8. Repeat the procedure above to wash the arms, hands, and chest, and when you’re done, cover them with a blanket to keep the person warm.

9. Next, turn the person to one side and wash the back with circular movements, following the same routine as before. After drying the back thoroughly, put the patient back in bed. Right now may be a good time to change the water, since it may have gotten cold.

10. It’s time to move to the lower part of the body. Start by washing the legs and feet in the same way you washed the arms and hands, and after drying thoroughly, cover them right away.

11. The last body part you should wash is the bottom. Use the same procedure as for the rest of the body, and cover as soon as you’re done.

12. Put clean clothes on the person, change the bed sheets, and position the patient comfortably over a low air loss mattress to stimulate circulation in his or her body.

This bathing technique uses a very small amount of water and maximizes the caregiver’s time while making the bedridden person feel refreshed and comfortable.

Rachel Clarkson
Rachel Clarkson is a bed sores specialist and a big fan and promoter of “The Volkner Turning Mattress”:

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