Hair Care

  1. I feel more comfortable posting in the student forum, since I am a nursing student. Y'all probably have the answer to my question.

    My patient for tomorrow is a teenaged African-American female, and of course I plan on helping her with her hygiene if she needs it. Tomorrow will be her seventh day in the hospital. She may or may not have any personal toiletry items. One note in her chart says that her hair is "disheveled".

    I know that her hair is different from mine, because it is more fragile, but that is all I know. What is good basic hair care for African-American patients?
    •  
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    Baby shampoo and No-More Tangles usually works the best and you can usually find them in the hospital. The biggest thing is to use conditioner to be able to comb thru the hair in most cases. Try to wash the hair, then leave on the conditioner for at least 15 minutes before starting to comb thru it. And one small section at a time.

    This works for anyone that has been in the hospital for awhile and has issues with their hair, no matter where the patient is from.
    Is your patient able to get out of bed, or will you be doing it in the bed? There are tricks for that as well.
  4. by   JanInTexas
    Thank you Suzanne!
  5. by   JanInTexas
    Oops, I forgot to answer your question. She's ambulatory, but I'll offer to wash it and condition it for her and then ask her to show me how she combs it.

    Thanks so much for your answer. Now I have to go do my pre-clinical research and write up...

    Quote from suzanne4
    Baby shampoo and No-More Tangles usually works the best and you can usually find them in the hospital. The biggest thing is to use conditioner to be able to comb thru the hair in most cases. Try to wash the hair, then leave on the conditioner for at least 15 minutes before starting to comb thru it. And one small section at a time.

    This works for anyone that has been in the hospital for awhile and has issues with their hair, no matter where the patient is from.
    Is your patient able to get out of bed, or will you be doing it in the bed? There are tricks for that as well.
  6. by   casi
    I would think that it would be okay for you to ask the patient as well what would work best for her hair type. I'm sure she wouldn't mind you saying, "I'm not sure how you normally do your hair. What would you like me to do, or what do you think would work best?" I would think that she'd appreciate the consideration.
    Last edit by casi on Oct 10, '05
  7. by   Finallyat40
    My last semester in school, I had a patient who had been inpatient for 9 (yes nine) days and had not once been offered oral care, a toothbrush or a shower. She cried when I told her that I was going to help her shower, wash her hair, get a clean gown and brush her teeth. I still think of her now and again and wonder how she is....good luck tomorrow!
    Jamie
  8. by   mitchsmom
    Quote from Finallyat40
    My last semester in school, I had a patient who had been inpatient for 9 (yes nine) days and had not once been offered oral care, a toothbrush or a shower. She cried when I told her that I was going to help her shower, wash her hair, get a clean gown and brush her teeth. I still think of her now and again and wonder how she is....good luck tomorrow!
    Jamie
    My husband was in for 8 days in 1997 & he probably got a new gown, but I don't remember him getting anything else. He was in so much pain I don't think he really cared, but looking back now I'm like I can't believe it. Then again, it was so busy there you could barely flag someone down for anything.
  9. by   JanInTexas
    Hi Casi. The reason I'm asking the question is so I can actually be prepared to help her wash and do her hair. I will ask her how she normally does it, but I kinda needed some facts before hand. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    Quote from casi
    I would think that it would be okay for you to ask the patient as well what would work best for her hair type. I'm sure she wouldn't mind you saying, "I'm not sure how you normally do your hair. What would you like me to do, or what do you think would work best?" I would think that she'd appreciate the consideration.
  10. by   lexcourben
    Hi Jan,

    It's great that you're taking the initiative in helping your patient with her personal care.

    Just a couple of more things that might help. If possible you might want to let her comb through as much of it as she can if she's physically able to just because it's easier to comb through your own hair than to have someone else do. (I used to hate it when my mother combed my hair especially if she was mad or in a hurry or both YIKES!!!) The other thing you might want to suggest to her is that you braid it up since that can be a neater and easier style to maintain.

    Also, African-American hair needs to be moisturized on a pretty regular basis so if she or you has access (from family maybe) to any hair oil that will also make it easier to comb and maintain.

    Hope that helps.

    Sandy
  11. by   JanInTexas
    Hi Sandy--Thank you so much for the suggestions! She should be able to comb her own hair, and it would be best in more ways than what you mentioned. Unfortunately, I am no good at braiding, but there will be 8 of us on the floor tomorrow--if she wants it braided, I bet someone can do it!

    Keep in mind that I haven't even met her yet. Tomorrow will be my first and only day with her (and just a half day, at that). My buddy (who will be with her in the afternoon) and I are just trying to find some things to do with her and for her. From what we found, she's not really interacting with anyone and her family isn't around much. Our goal tomorrow is to get her to engage in conversation and hopefully to see her smile. She's doing pretty well physically right now, but her mental/emotional state is shaky.

    Being a student is sometimes scary, but the beauty of it is that we get to do more things/spend more time with our patient. At least, that's the way it is right now while we only have 1 patient in this rotation.

    Thanks everyone for your help!

    Quote from lexcourben
    Hi Jan,

    It's great that you're taking the initiative in helping your patient with her personal care.

    Just a couple of more things that might help. If possible you might want to let her comb through as much of it as she can if she's physically able to just because it's easier to comb through your own hair than to have someone else do. (I used to hate it when my mother combed my hair especially if she was mad or in a hurry or both YIKES!!!) The other thing you might want to suggest to her is that you braid it up since that can be a neater and easier style to maintain.

    Also, African-American hair needs to be moisturized on a pretty regular basis so if she or you has access (from family maybe) to any hair oil that will also make it easier to comb and maintain.

    Hope that helps.

    Sandy
  12. by   lexcourben
    Just curious I noticed you're in Denton, which program are you going through? How do you like it so far?

    BTW...good luck today. Hope everything goes smoothly for you. Sounds like you're already on the right track.

    Sandy
  13. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    It sounds like you are going to be a very good and caring nurse.

    Good luck.
  14. by   JanInTexas
    Sandy--I'm at TWU and I like it, even though this semester is kicking my butt. We have some really good and caring instructors, good clinical opportunities, and we're learning a lot.

    It turns out that I didn't get to use the ideas y'all gave me. My patient was up and in the bath very quickly and didn't want to wash her hair. But I will be able to use all of your suggestions later on. This was my first African-American patient, but you know she won't be my last and I need to know how to help any patient with their morning care. Thanks to all...

close