As a CNA, one of the most important tasks you will need to perform during your shifts is bathing your patients. While this does not sound like such a difficult task, it can be if your patients are extremely fragile, difficult or suffering from mobility issues. Fortunately, there are some useful tips that can help you in these situations, and you will find them described below.
Check for Mobility Issues
First of all, before you even begin bathing patients, you need to check their charts to see if they are suffering from any mobility issues. While some patients may be able to enter a shower or tub, many of them will require sponge baths, also known as bed baths. Additionally, although there may be a few patients who only need a small amount of assistance, many of your patients will likely need a lot of help with bathing.
Allow Patients to Check Water Temperature
Whether you are bathing your patients in a shower or tub or giving them a sponge bath, it is important that you allow them to check the water's temperature. Just because the water may seem cool enough for you, does not mean that it will be cool enough for your patients! Furthermore, always be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and arms up to your elbows before you begin bathing patients.
Try to Minimize Embarrassment
Bathing can be quite humiliating for patients, especially those who are elderly or of the opposite sex. If this is the case with one or more of your patients, offer to perform a sponge bath rather than a tub or shower bath. Try to keep your patients covered as much as possible as well and do not linger on private areas. Talking to your patients while bathing them can also help to relieve their anxiety during bathing.
Make Sure Your Patients Have Privacy
This tip goes hand in hand with minimizing embarrassment for your patients during bathing. Before beginning any bathing activities, make sure you shut your patients' doors. If they share a room with other patients, completely close the curtains surrounding their beds. If you are assisting them with a shower or tub bath, provide them with a robe to wear to and from the bathroom.
Thoroughly Dry Your Patients After Bathing
Finally, it is important that you make sure that your patients are thoroughly dry after bathing them. Many patients chill rather easily and can become seriously ill if you do not see to this task. You will also need to change any bedding that may have gotten wet during the patients' baths and help them change into fresh clothing if necessary.
Useful tips for bathing patients as a CNA include checking the patient's mobility status, minimizing embarrassment and letting patients check water temperature.