Give a Bedridden Adult a Bed Bath

Edited by Jonathan V. Lomabao, vc, Rob, Dougie-1 and 5 others

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Giving a bed-ridden adult a bed bath can be very difficult and messy if not properly done. Bed baths are given to individuals who cannot bathe themselves due to a physical disability or illness. It is given to properly ensure cleanliness, to provide mild passive and active range of motion exercises, and to improve comfort and circulation. Below are the steps to properly give a bedridden adult a bed bath.

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Steps

  1. 1
    Explain procedure to client.png
    Before getting started, it's wise to introduce yourself and offer an explanation of what you'll be doing for the client
    .
    Rationale: Promote rapport and you'll decrease your client's nervousness.
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  2. 2
    Bed bath equipments.png
    Prepare all the necessary equipment and place them within reach
    .
    Rationale: Organize tasks.
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    1. Thing's You'll Need:
      • Table or cart
      • Inflatable Basin
      • 2 Basins
      • Several washcloths
      • Bath towels
      • Blankets
      • Soap and soap dish
      • Shampoo
      • Body lotion
      • Disposable latex gloves
      • Laundry bag
      • Client's gown
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  3. 3
    Be sure to wash your hands before beginning
    .
    Rationale: To prevent transmission of pathogens to the client.
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  4. 4
    Wear clean gloves
    .
    Again, this step is meant to prevent transmission of pathogens.
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  5. 5
    Provide privacy to the client
    .
    Rationale: To decrease the anxiety and to prevent distractions.
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  6. 6
    Offer a bedpan or urinal to the client
    .
    Rationale: To empty the bladder.
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  7. 7
    Lower the client's bed to waist level and lower the side rails
    .
    Rationale: To ease strain on your back, to maintain proper posture and for easier access to your client.
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  8. 8
    Remove the gloves, wash your hands thoroughly and put on new clean gloves
    .
    Rationale: To prevent transmission of pathogens and to prevent contact with the body fluids of the client.
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  9. 9
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    Position client in supine position (lying face up) near the side of the bed closest to you
    .
    Rationale: To easily reach the client.
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  10. 10
    Un-tuck the sheets; fold the top sheet halfway to the client's waist and lay a towel over them
    .
    Rationale: To prevent soiling the bed linens.
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  11. 11
    Fill the basins with warm water not exceeding 115 °F, one for washing and one for rinsing.
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  12. 12
    Test the temperature of the water on your inner arm
    .
    Rationale: To prevent scalding.
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  13. 13
    Remove the client's clothes and cover with clean blanket
    .
    Rationale: To provide warmth, privacy and easier access to the client.
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  14. 14
    Put a bath towel on the chest of your client
    .
    Rationale: To prevent soiling the client.
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  15. 15
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    Wet the washcloth, squeeze the excess water and form a mitten by wrapping it around your hand tightly
    .
    Rationale: To prevent splashing of water to the client.
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  16. 16
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    Start first with the client's eyes, moving from the inner part toward the outer
    .
    Follow with the face, nose, mouth, ears and neck. If the client is not sensitive to soap, lather a cloth for use in washing the face, nose, ears, and neck, avoiding the eyes, or use a mild hypoallergenic soap instead. Rationale: To prevent irritation on the skin.
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  17. 17
    After the client's face has been washed, place the cloth in a laundry basket
    .
    Take a new damp cloth and use it to rinse the client's face. Next, dry their face with a towel. Rationale: To prevent pathogens from infecting your client.
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  18. 18
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    Fill the basin with warm water and gently wash the client's hair
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    Shampoo, then rinse, and then dry their hair with a dry bath towel. Rationale: To thoroughly cleanse your client's hair.
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  19. 19
    Next, you should bathe the client's arm
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    Lather first with soap from the shoulder down to the client's hands. Rinse, dry, and repeat for the other arm. Rationale: To promote circulation.
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  20. 20
    Then the next step is to bathe the client's chest and abdomen
    .
    For female clients, cover the client's breasts after washing, rinsing and drying with a clean dry towel and continue the procedure to the abdomen then re-cover the upper body with blanket when done. Rationale: To promote modesty and respect.
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  21. 21
    Change the water in the two basins
    .
    Rationale: To replenish warm water and remove dirty water from the basin.
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  22. 22
    Side lying position.png
    Assist the client in lying on their side, and then wash the client's back and buttocks, then rinse and dry
    .
    Then do a back rub and apply a lotion. Rationale: Back rub promotes circulation preventing bed ulcers and the lotion to moisturize and promote skin health of the client's back.
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  23. 23
    Position the client in supine and bathe the client's hips, legs, and feet
    .
    When finished, rinse, and then dry them with a towel. Rationale: To promote peripheral circulation.
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  24. 24
    Change the water in the two basins, remove your gloves, and put a new clean pair on
    .
    Now, bathe the genitals of the client. In bathing the genitals, only apply a downward or upward single stroke on the area. You should also be sure to use a clean washcloth. Next, dry and cover with a towel. Rationale: To provide privacy and respect.
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  25. 25
    Place the dirty washcloths and linens in the laundry basket
    .
    Rationale: To prevent contamination.
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  26. 26
    Remove and discard the gloves and then give a clean gown to the client
    .
    If the client is able, assist the client in putting the clean gown. Rationale: This is to promote range of motion exercise and promote the client's decision-making skills.
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  27. 27
    Apply lotion, comb the client's hair, and offer any other grooming or hygiene assistance that your client might need
    .
    Rationale: Enhances the body image of the client.
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  28. 28
    Change the bed sheets, raise the side rail, and bring the bed back to the client's preferred height
    .
    Rationale: To maintain cleanliness and to maintain comfort and safety.
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  29. 29
    Remove all the equipment from the client's room and wash hands
    .
    Rationale: To protect yourself from the transmission of pathogens.
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Tips

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  • Expose only body part that you need to bathe.
  • Change the water if it gets dirty.
  • Maintain privacy.
  • Maintain room temperature to body temperature.
  • Use as many clean washcloths as needed.
  • Always maintain cleanliness.
  • Reinforce the client's willingness to cooperate.
  • Observe proper body mechanics.

Warnings

  • Do not leave the client unattended. The client may fall if the bed rail is lowered.
  • Do not let the water in the basins get cold. It may make the client sick.
  • Do not use washcloths repeatedly. It may cause contamination to the clean parts.
  • Do not expose all of a client's body at once. Even in a warm room, the air feels cool on the skin.

Questions and Answers

How to bathe an adult in bed?

Bathing an adult in bed is very different from the usual shower in the bathroom. Here, you cannot expect that you will be using flowing water. Instead, you will need to use several washcloths, which you will have to apply per area.

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Here are the steps:

  1. 1
    Wet a washcloth with warm water
    .
    Apply that washcloth all over the body, particularly on the legs, arms, torso, and the like. It is ideal if you begin with the front areas first, and you repeat the same cycle later on when you have turned the patient to his side. The warm washcloth will allow the pores of the patient to open, thereby allowing the dirt to come out.
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  2. 2
    Apply some soap to the next washcloth and apply it all over the body
    .
    You need to do this right after the first application of the washcloth as it is good while the pores are still open.
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  3. 3
    Wash off the soap by applying another washcloth
    .
    Make sure that no traces of soap are left behind. If there are, that may cause irritation later on.
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  4. 4
    Repeat the above process for the back side.
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How to give my mother a nice head bath. She has recently had surgery for a kneecap?

Hi,

I am writing to you from Mumbai, India. My mother (71 years old) had an accident on 4th of Jan, 2016 and had a surgery the day after on her patella. Her patella bones were fractured. so they had to be tied with K-wires. Now she lies on her bed. She takes sponge bath daily and just goes to the bathroom to wash her head. But if she can't shampoo her head, what kind of serum/ potion can be added to make her hair look shiny and healthy. Also, since she is not taking her daily shower, so she is looking dull and does not want to eat anything.

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Please advise.

Rinse her hair with Apple Cider Vinegar at least twice a week. This will help bring the shine back to her hair as well as clean excess oils. If she can't put her head over a basin to catch the water/vinegar, put a mixture of 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar per 1 cup of water in a spray bottle and spritz her hair. Start at the scalp and work your way down. Gently massage the scalp to loosen debris and then comb through her hair.

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Nuance, sayantani, Eng

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