Regular bathing (this does not necessarily mean daily) is important for your health and comfort. Using a bath stool in the tub or shower allows you to bathe in a safer and less tiring manner. When this method becomes unsafe, a bed bath is necessary.
What will be needed for a bed bath:
- Towels and washcloth
- Plastic basin or other container
- Clean nightgown or pajamas
- Clean bed linen
- Gloves when linen is soiled and when cleaning urine or stool from skin
What to do if your family member cannot bathe themselves:
- Gather together all items used for bathing.
- Encourage them to use the bedpan or urinal before bathing.
- Take pain medications first; comfort is always a primary concern.
- The nurse or home health aide can demonstrate how to give a bed bath. Do not worry if the technique is not exactly the same as what has been shown. Many caregivers develop their own techniques after some practice.
- Place warm water in the basin and replace the water as often as necessary, but especially after washing the genital or buttocks area.
- Always respect your family member’s privacy and dignity by using extra towels or a blanket to cover areas not being washed.
- Use soap mainly on the areas of the body which perspire or need extra washing due to odor or drainage. Always rinse well. Plain water is usually sufficient for other areas of the body. In selecting a brand of soap, try to pick one with less perfumes or additives thereby resulting in fewer dry skin problems.
- Add a capful of baby oil in the bath water to help dry skin.
- Dry the skin with a soft towel, always gently, yet thoroughly.
- Rub lotion on the body after bathing.