Should you wash patients everyday?

  1. I have a question, should you wash patients everyday? Wouldnt they be prone to skin breakdown, a risk for impaired skin integrity, especially for bedridden patients. Applying lotion isnt a solution or a reason to clean a patient everyday. I see patients on my floor having dry skin due to bathing them and by bathing them everyday, the normal flora lessens. I wash them if they are really dirty and if they havent been wash for a day, most of the time I clean them when they defecate coz they are incontinent. My fellow nurses also said that you shouldnt wash your patients everyday, washing meaning "bed bath everyday!" Please send me ur suggestions or opinion on the matter.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jan 11, '07 : Reason: moved own thread
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   lorster
    I did a research paper on this my senior year of nursing school which by the way was many moons ago but the basic reasoning for the findings has not changed in that time. What I learned in a nutshell was that it is not good for elderly patients to be washed with soap and water every day. Many elderly folks don't take that many baths at home. They wash up at the sink but don't go to lengths to submerse their skin in the tub or shower. The skin produces a natural substance called sebum. This system is well developed at birth, diminishes during childhool and then increases during puberty. As you get older it diminishes hence, dry skin in the elderly. This is the bodys natural antibiotic and it is the oil you see on the surface of the skin. It can also be whitish. If it is constantly removed, it does increase the chances of breakdown and other problems. The articles I read also stated that a patient should have oral and peri care done every day and to use a wash cloth only once. Don't rinse it out and use it again, go to a clean cloth. If I'm working a stretch, I do peri care and oral care every day but my elderly patients don't get a shower everyday unless they specifically ask. The articles I read, recommended the use of plain water when bathing people that way you are spreading the sebum around, not necessarly washing it off.
  4. by   banditrn
    I don't think they should neccessarily have a full soap and water bath every day, but, especially those that are bed-bound feel more comfortable with a rinse off of their back, legs, peri area and such. I think it's a comfort measure.
  5. by   Tweety
    God forbid we don't bathe our patients every day. The families take notice and complain. So most of our patients are bathed or offered a bath/washup daily. Our patients though aren't elderly and frail. I take a bath every day, so I can understand our patients wanting a bath, most say it makes them feel better, especially to have their hair washed.

    Most nursing homes around here don't bathe daily, however.
  6. by   incublissRN
    If I don't do a full bath daily I at least make sure the important things such as the peri area are washed. My skin gets really dry from showering every day (especially in the winter) so I make sure I don't over do it with elderly patients and their frail skin.
  7. by   RNSacht
    Quote from Tweety
    God forbid we don't bathe our patients every day. The families take notice and complain. So most of our patients are bathed or offered a bath/washup daily. Our patients though aren't elderly and frail. I take a bath every day, so I can understand our patients wanting a bath, most say it makes them feel better, especially to have their hair washed.

    Most nursing homes around here don't bathe daily, however.
    Im so sick of these families thinking these patients are at the spa!!!!! There is NO way there are getting bathed every day wherever they came from. Who has time to bathe EVERY patient EVERY day. We have ONE aid for 18 patients and most of them need help just to get to the commode, this is one of the BIG reasons I want OUT of the hospital!!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. by   jimthorp
    I work in LTC and everyone gets a bed bath daily during days and a brief wash up on second shift. Shower twice a week, if they don't refuse. I don't agree with the frequency of the bathing due to previously stated reasons but that is the rules.
  9. by   Plagueis
    At the nursing home where I work, residents get showered twice a week. More often than that wouldn't be beneficial for their skin, from what I've been told by nurses.
  10. by   burn out
    bedridden patients I defintely give a bath every day(sometimes they get two ot three if they have alot of incontinence say from tube feedings) If the patient is awake and alert it is totally up to them .
    By the way have you ever had a bed bath? I had to have one once and it made me feel so much better I have never been soo pampered.
  11. by   StrwbryblndRN
    I come from a long family line of dry skin. It hurts too much if I were to bathe everyday with soap. Sometimes I just have a shower with no soap. I treat my children the same. (my toddler son however needs soap more often b/c he took after my dh side of the family) I am not dirty but feel if I am not active or had a lazy day at home what is the point. I never had research to back me up like the previous post but figured I did not have enough oil in my skin and if I used soap then I would make the dryness worse.
    I find it silly to bathe if you are still clean. A little oil build up for me is great. I do not even use the usual bar soap products. I like to use castille soap.
    Everyone is different. If individualized care is needed to facilitate overall health then would not skin care be a part of it. To believe that everyone needs a bath everyday is not logical. Granted I will abide by policy and pt requests but would hope in the future that the public/hospital facilities will realize that the standard everyday bath is not for everyone. (Do not get me wrong, some people may benefit from two baths a day. My dh does it sometimes and takes at least one shower a day using regular bar soap)
    Last edit by StrwbryblndRN on Jan 11, '07
  12. by   MarySunshine
    I work in an ICU and I do wash down patient's backs with those lotioned warm wipes and make sure their sheets are clean. Mouth care and peri care are done. Otherwise, no, a bath everyday isn't necessary.

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