Your favorite "extra" thing to do for patients

  1. We all have things we'd like to be able to do for patients when time allows. We get many many geriatric folks at my work (from home or nursing homes) who haven't had nail care in AGES. I love to get folks trimmed up (discreetly, of course - the policies are so funny about nail care.)

    Another nurse I worked with felt like she wasn't doing her job if her bedbound patients didn't get a backrub at bedtime.

    What do you like to do special for your patients "just because" (not because some made it a script or a customer satisfaction ploy.)
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  2. 61 Comments

  3. by   LasVegasRN
    When I was doing bedside care, I always wanted to shave my male patients. The thing is, I was horrible at it. I could shave my grandpa like a pro with a straight edge, but those hospital razors! They are great for shaving legs but NOT beards. My nurse manager said to me "you want to shave them, not harvest skin grafts."
  4. by   hoolahan
    Wash their hair. Man I know I feel scuzzy if my hair isn't clean, so I do that in the hospital.

    In homecare, I have done things like clean out someone's refridgerator, organized their wound care supplies for them, made them lunch, cleaned out their medicine cabinet w them (one psych pt I saw had, no lie 2 HUGE hefty bags full of expired tylenol, laxatives, cough syrups, you name it. She was convinced we couldn't put it out in the dumpster, it wasn't safe there, so I told her I'd take it to the incinerator, and loaded it into my car.)

    I have washed feet and done foot massages, picked up their meds from the pharmacy, brought them enteric coated asa for mediplanners when it's on sale at WalMart, and my favorite pt, I bought him an organizer with business card pages, so he could bring me the cards of all the specialists he saw, I put a calender in it, so they could see when he had other appointments, and folders, a med list and about a dozen copies of the note "Please give Mr. So-and-so written instructions for all meds or therapy." Because he is soooooo forgetful. I have bought food and/or cat food for people so they could keep their pets. I feed one cat regularly, and I want to bring him home, but my dtr is horribly allergic and really suffers around cats.

    I figure God has given me many blessings, so I pass it on if I can.
  5. by   Furball
    Definitely a foot or back massage!

    To this day I remember getting back massages at bedtime when I was 10 and deathly ill with peritonitis. (1972) It made the pain a lot less...that's for sure!

    Hoolahan...you're one helluva homecare nurse!
  6. by   Stormy
    I always like to make sure female unconscious patients have their legs and pits shaved if they shaved them prior to their injury. How mortified we would all be if that was our hairy legs hangin out for everyone to see!
  7. by   ucavalpn
    I have become the "nail care nurse " at work . I work in home health. Most of my pt's live alone and just can't do this for themselves. One LOM will ask , Do you have time to do my nails? I always make the time .
    And HUGS , I love giving / getting hugs.
  8. by   night owl
    Shaving is it for me. I work with male residents and have for the past 28 years and have become quite the pro, but if I had female residents, it would surely be plucking those ugly chin hairs and getting rid of those nasty looking moustaches!
  9. by   Sleepyeyes
    Originally posted by LasVegasRN
    When I was doing bedside care, I always wanted to shave my male patients. The thing is, I was horrible at it. I could shave my grandpa like a pro with a straight edge, but those hospital razors! They are great for shaving legs but NOT beards. My nurse manager said to me "you want to shave them, not harvest skin grafts."
    Good trick:

    Wash his face with warm water. Then, put the shaving cream on and LET IT SIT for a few minutes before you shave him. Also, I bring 2 razors. I use the first for around the mouth, then I do the cheeks and the neck last.
  10. by   pebbles
    Hair washes and footrubs.

    Especially for our new trauma admissions, they are always grungey and it must feel so awful to lie in a bed and be covered with road grit...

    I knew a HCA in a chronic care ward who would bring people a basin of warm water to soak their feet, since it is rare in hospital to get a good soak on a bathtub, so that was her compromise. I thought that was really nice.
  11. by   Sleepyeyes
    Favorite things to do for Residents:
    (Boy you can tell I spent some time teaching the CNA's this stuff, can't ya? I love doing pt. care when I have the time to do it RIGHT.)
    I like to spend a few minutes just chatting; I learn a lot about the pt. that way, and oftentimes, I get a history that's really helpful to the pt's care plan.
    I also like to lotion dry feet/legs. If the person has obviously not done this care in awhile, I'll put a large gob of lotion to the feet and wrap them in a towel for a few minutes (while we gab )
    And it only takes a few minutes to wash someone's hair when they're bedbound. Just take a pad, a plastic bag, and a couple of bedblankets, put them all under the pt's head, and use a cup to pour the water and wash, rinse, and comb.
    Lots of times, I'll do the hair first, then finish the bed bath, and get 'em lookin' spiffy. If their skin is reallly dry, I use a lot of lotion. For really smelly underarms, swab some alcohol wipes and then let some shave cream sit on there a few minutes, then wash as usual....long's the skin isn't broken. this works pretty well.
  12. by   adrienurse
    Sitting and talking to the people (they can choose the topic -- whether it's based on reality or not). I like to lotion dry feet and legs, make sandwiches or toast, give massages hold hands. Make them feel CARED for, basically. I work in LTC and have a coworker whe brings a bottle or nailpolish to work and paints the little old ladies nails when there is down-time.
  13. by   karmcq
    I like to wash their hair, too. It helps get rid of the "old people" smell. I really don't mean to be rude, but thats what I call it. But, housekeeping HATES it when i bathe them and wash their hair, cause they will eventually be called to clean up after me.
  14. by   JeannieM
    Originally posted by ucavalpn
    [B.
    And HUGS , I love giving / getting hugs. [/B]
    Me too! Hugs all the way. I hug patients, visitors, staff, and even small stray animals, if I can get my hands on them. :chuckle I hope it makes them feel better, because it sure helps me!:kiss

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