A Caregiver’s Guide to Safe Bathing
A bath or shower is one of life’s simple pleasures that can be all too easy to take for granted. For those with mobility challenges, caregivers play a key role in allowing patients to maintain a certain level of independence and enjoy safe bathing. If you are a caregiver looking for ways to simplify your duties and increase safety for both you and your patient, read on for some great tips.
Even minor bathroom modifications can go a long way to increasing safety. Permanent rails and grab bars can be installed both inside and outside the shower for extra security and stability. If patients are ambulatory, but have a hard time standing for long periods of time, a simple shower chair offers a great solution. Other quick and easy additions include non-slip mats and handheld shower heads. Having these items in place will provide valuable tools for patients and caregivers alike.
Walk in Tubs
If your patient is dealing with significant mobility limitations, you might recommend that they invest in a walk-in-tub. These tubs feature spacious doors and comfortable seats that will allow bathers to safely and easily enter and exit a tub without having to raise and lower their own bodyweight. For caregivers, this means only having to provide minimal assistance.
Strong communication skills are a key component to providing good care. As a caregiver, you want to make sure that you explain everything you are going to do before you do it. Avoid making sudden moves, pushing or pulling the person in the direction you want him to go or even suddenly touching him without warning. Explain that you’re going to wash his back now, or rinse his hair. This will prevent any surprises and to help make him feel more comfortable. Ask questions often. For instance, if it seems he can wash his upper body but has trouble bending, ask if he’d like you to wash his lower legs and feet. Simple conversation can go a long way to building trust and increasing safety.
Caregivers should also be mindful of modesty issues. Be understanding and try to imagine how you would feel, and it will be easier to avoid any awkward moments. Allow the bather as much privacy as possible. If he needs complete assistance, this can be difficult, but do your best to make conversation or distract the bather to reduce feelings of embarrassment. If the bather needs minimal assistance, allow him every bit of independence that’s possible. Someone in a walk in bathtub might only need you to wash his hair or be present in case he needs assistance. Focus on other things, but stay close in case. Someone who needs more assistance might prefer to hold a towel over certain body parts when you’re washing other areas.
Also, it’s important to have sufficient time for comfortable bathing. Don’t rush the experience. Trying to go too fast can make the bather anxious. It might also make him feel as if he’s a nuisance, or keeping you from doing something else. Choose a time for the bath that’s convenient and will allow the bather to take as little or as much time as is needed.
Whether you are a caregiver or patient, AmeriGlide can provide you with valuable products and advice that will increase bathroom safety. AmeriGlide specializes in supplying walk in bathtubs at the guaranteed lowest price. For additional assistance in choosing a walk in bathtub that will fit your bathroom and meet your needs, call us today at 1-800-987-6308.