Most healthy people complete routine personal care activities, like bathing and dressing, each and every day. We tend to take them for granted, but in an inpatient setting, maintaining personal hygiene is challenging. When highly skilled care is required to improve a patient’s condition, personal care may be mistaken as a less important task. In reality, hygiene is a nuanced and very important aspect of patient care and should be prioritized accordingly.
As a patient care technician, you often see people at their most vulnerable. Your patients may be uncomfortable, in pain, confused, or frightened. It’s likely that they’re accustomed to taking a shower or soaking in the bath unattended whenever they feel like it. Their stay in the hospital disrupts this routine and, potentially, their sense of independence.
At home, shaving, oral care, and bathing are not usually seen as “risky” activities. In the hospital, many factors can make these activities a health risk:
- Balance problems
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Compromised immunity
- Lack of skin integrity
- The necessity to work around critical medical equipment
Fortunately, you can mitigate the risk with some simple techniques.
In this module, you’ll learn more about the importance of patient hygiene, as well as several techniques to provide personal care in a way that is safe and considerate of your patients’ needs.
After completing Bath and Hygiene Safety, you’ll be able to:
- Describe how the integumentary system protects the body from infection
- Explain how bath safety and proper hygiene allow for quality patient care
- Describe the potential risks involved in using soap and water bed baths.
- Identify a common bacteria that leads to skin infections
- Determine how pressure ulcers affect hospital stays
- List 2 examples of how to prevent falls in the shower
- Identify how pain can affect a patient during their bathing process
- Discuss bath safety concerns with the cognitively impaired patient
If you're NHA certified, you can now access this continuing education through your account.