Learn How To Properly Bathe a Person Under Hospice or Palliative Care

Every day the nursing staff providing Los Angeles ‌‌hospice‌ ‌care‌ ‌bathe hospice patients who aren’t able to do so themselves. Taking a bath is important because it helps maintain healthy skin and helps prevent infections. Also, ‌‌hospice‌ Los Angeles staff say it’s an ideal time to check the skin to find any rashes or sores. Plus, bathing helps a person feel fresh and clean.

How much help you or your loved one needs during a bath depends on mobility. Someone in palliative care could have short-term trouble with self-care because they are recovering from an illness or surgery. Or else you are dealing with an older person who has memory problems. The person may have forgotten how to bathe. Perhaps you’re caring for someone who has a long-term inability to move, for instance, a paralyzed person. This person will need extra care when bathing.  

When a person under hospice‌ ‌care‌ ‌has to stay in bed and can move a little, they probably can take a shower with some assistance once or twice a week. Maybe the person favors a partial bath at the sink or with a basin every day.

However, when a person is incompletely immobile, they would require a bed bath. Typically, this is known as a sponge bath, but face cloths are generally used. It’s possible to give a full bath in bed without dampening the bedsheets.

When it comes to older adults, you can give a bed bath two or three times each week. If you bathe a person more than that, you may put that person at risk for skin problems, such as sores. On the other hand, younger people can bathe more frequently if they want to and have no blood flow issues.

It’s highly recommended to let your loved ones clean themselves as much as possible. While you help undress and bathe the person, act candid but easy. Bath time can be awkward and embarrassing for you and your loved one, which could be the case when caring for an opposite-sex parent. The general rule of thumb is if you aren’t upset or embarrassed, your loved one may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

How Do You Give Someone A Bed Bath?

Get all your materials together

To give a bed bath, you will require:

  • Three or more towels.
  • Four or more bath sponges or face cloths.
  • Two washbasins (one for soapy water, and one for rinsing).
  • Soap (liquid soap, a bar of soap, or wipes).
  • Body lotion.
  • “No-tears” or baby shampoo or no-rinse shampoo.
  • A table or stand to place the materials.
  • A waterproof cloth to help keep the bed dry.

Prepare For The Bath

  • Find out from the person if the room is too warm or too cool, and modify the temperature if required.
  • Ensure that the bed is high enough so that you don’t hurt your back. It is fine to put your knee on the bed to reach over and bathe the person if it is low.
  • Put a waterproof mat or sheet under the person to keep the bed dry.
  • Make sure the door is closed and the blinds or drapes are closed for privacy.

What You Should Keep In Mind

  • Once you or your loved one cleans an area, turn the face cloth so you can use a new, clean part of it for the next area. Use a new facecloth when you require one.
  • While you help your loved one wash, look out for redness or sores on the skin. Focus on areas with creases, such as under the breasts or the folds on the stomach. Also, check the groin area and bony areas, like the shoulders and elbows.

How To Help With Or Give The Bath

  1. Fill two basins with warm water. One basin is for soaping up a face cloth and wringing it out. The second basin contains clear, warm water for rinsing off the soap with a face cloth.
  2. Wash and dry your hands.
  3. Use the back of your hand to try out the water to ensure it’s not too hot.
  4. Consider wearing gloves, especially if the person has been vomiting or has had diarrhea. It’s a good idea to wear a mask if the person has a contagious illness, such as the flu.
  5. Let the person undress and wash as much as they can. Take off clothing only from the area you are going to clean. For instance, uncover an arm, wash and dry it, and then put it back into a shirt or gown.
  6. Clean with the face cloth and soapy water or wipes, and then rinse using a different face cloth and clear water.
  7. Begin with the cleanest areas of the body and finish with the less clean areas. Prepare the face cloth for your loved one to wash. Or you can gently wash the person if they can’t do it.
    • Clean the eyelids, Beginning from the inside and moving out.
    • Clean the face, ears, and neck.
    • Clean the arms one at a time, and then the hands.
    • Clean the chest and belly, and also the belly button.
    • Clean one leg and then the other.
    • Clean the feet and in between the toes.
    • Help the person roll on their side so you can wash the backside. (If you can’t move a person by yourself, get someone to help you so that you don’t hurt your back.) Then enable the person to roll on their back.
    • Get rid of the water (which by now may be cold) and replace it with fresh warm water.
    • Using a new facecloth, wash the genital area first and then the anal area.
  1. If you are wearing gloves, remove them. Change the water and wash the hair. You can use baby shampoo, water, and “no-tears” or no-rinse shampoo. Take a good look at the scalp for any signs of sores or redness.
  2. Apply an unscented body lotion to protect the skin and prevent it from becoming dry. Don’t put cream on areas that can become moist, such as under the breasts or in the folds of the groin.
  3. Assist the person as needed to finish dressing.
  4. Put your supplies back in their place and wash your hands.