8.2. Ensuring physical and emotional well-being

The act of bathing is a routine activity that we do not pay too much attention to. It is an intimate activity that most of us perform independently and alone. 

Now imagine yourself - how would you feel if you had to be assisted in the bathing process? 

Watch the video below and consider the complexity of bathing that a person with dementia experience. Please, always follow your local practice regulations and consider the video as a thought provoking example!

Here is a list of principles to follow when helping a person with dementia with their dressing and hygiene activities. Remember - you are helping them not doing things for them! Helping includes active communication about the task at hand.

1. Always have the person with dementia perform all tasks within his or her present capacity.
Because it maintains person’s self-esteem and uses muscle groups; impedes staff burnout; minimizes further regression.

2. Always have the person wear own clothes, even if in the hospital.
Because it helps maintain their identity and dignity.

3. Use clothing with elastic, and substitute fastening tape (Velcro) or buttons and zippers.
Because it minimizes the person’s confusion and eases independence of functioning.

4. Label clothing items with their name and name of item.
Because it helps identify the person if he or she wanders and gives them additional clues when they struggle to understand what the item is for.

5. Give step-by-step instructions whenever necessary (e.g., “Take this blouse…put in one arm … now the next arm … pull it together in the front … now …”).
Because the person can focus on small pieces of information more easily; allows the person to perform at optimal level.

6. Make sure that water in faucets is not too hot.
Because judgment is lacking in person with dementia; they are unaware of many safety hazards.

7. If the person is resistant to performing self-care, come back later and ask again.
Because moods may be labile, and the person may forget but often complies after short interval.

Take a look at the video below - a bathing situation is played out. Please, always follow your local practice regulations and consider this video only as an example to promote respectful care!

Introduction Dressing and Bathing Nutrition Bowel and Bladder Function Sleep Useful Activities

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