Bathing is a requirement for our bodies as the act washes away germs and bacteria that can harm us. Bathing safety for the resistant can become a laboring task. As we age, it can become a struggle to bathe on our own.
We do not generally consider the process of bathing as being a hazardous one, but dozens of elderly are involuntarily injured and some even hospitalized each year due to resistance. The elderly tend to contest to being bathed, which can pose a dangerous situation for both the elderly and the caregiver. The three most common reasons that the elderly resist to being bathed is: fear, pain, and modesty.
The sensation of fear comes from the possibility of falling in the bathtub. The bones of the elderly often become brittle because of Osteoporosis (a disease that weakens the bones in the body overtime) and the thought of breaking a bone triggers panic and anxiety.
It’s no secret that the elderly often struggle with pain due to the achy joints of wear and tear and arthritis. Many elderly feel that the bathing process can and will produce more physical pain, which will add to their suffering. The elderly also find that bathing can be very tiresome and require more energy than their bodies are willing to give.
Modesty is so important to us all, especially the elderly. They’ve lived a long life, labored hard for many years, raised children, and enjoyed grandchildren. It can be very uncomfortable and humiliating for the patient to have to undress in front of others and depend on the mercy of a caregiver to complete tasks for them that they are so used to doing on their own for many years.
* Prepare for bathing ahead of time. Make sure all bathing apparatuses are already in the tub and that the desired soaps and shampoos over available. This will help decrease idle time, which can stir anxiety.
* A shower is much easier and safer to administer verses a bath. But, this is only the case if the elderly patient is able to stand for an extended period of time. Lifting and placing a person into a tub full of water can cause unneeded strain to both the patient and the caregiver. Lifting a person that is already wet from a slippery tub onto a possible wet floor also opens a door to and accidental injury.
* Using a shower chair to bathe decreases the risk of injury and is a more secure approach. A shower chair is a wheeled, sometimes hooded chair that is placed inside the tub. While bathing a person who is sitting on the shower chair, it offers stability and security, without the constant worry of falling. * Equipping the shower with a hand held shower head can help to ease fear and prevent resistant struggle. The water coming down from a regular shower head on a person’s head can set them up for a panicked response, and can cause of person to have the sensation of drowning. Most hand-held shower heads also have an on and off switch so you can have to water running only when you want. Be sure to use one that allows you to can some control on the flow of water pressure coming from it when washing the hair and other more sensitive areas.
* Handrails installed inside the shower is a great safety device. The rails offer stability and security to the patient by knowing there are handles to grip when they need to stand or move around.
* Rubber mats/anti-skid mats placed on the bottom of the tub help with traction and grip. It is important to make sure the mat is completely flat with no raised or bunched edges so that the mat isn’t tripped over during the bathing process.
It is so very essential to remember while bathing another being that you are dealing with an actual person occupied with emotions and esteem. Try to picture in your mind, the tables being turned, as if you are the one having to get bathed instead of the one giving the bath. It is pertinent to use gentle speech with a soft tone and to converse with the patient while you are bathing them because this helps to take their mind off of what is taking place. Bathing safely is significant to all you are offering homecare to, especially the resistant.