Bed Baths, I dread giving them.

  1. OK, so now I'm going to split my 0.6 FTE on our small rural hospital 6 bed CCU/Stepdown unit half and half, 12 hour days and 12 hour nights, since some rare weekday dayshifts opened up. I'm keeping nights for my weekend obligation. In our unit, baths are done on days. I have never worked days in my 13 years of being a nurse. I told my manager today that my worst fear is giving baths. I have a great manager, btw.

    Any tips on giving bedbaths? Really, I'm totally unskilled at giving bedbaths. Anyone else scared of them?
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    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 1,256; Likes: 66


  3. by   clemmm78
    Believe it or not, I love them. It gives me time for one on one time with the patient. After not working days for years and years (or so it seemed), I did a few days at our place to get to know the routines and stuff. I enjoyed the bathing part and realized that I missed it. Even if my patients aren't responsive, I still talk to them, telling them what I'm doing, what's going on outside, stuff like that.

    The bathing gives me, as an RN, a good opportunity to see what my patient can and cannot do, how the skin is, stuff like that. And, I really feel satisfied after rubbing them down with their own creams,making them smell like their own scents.

    Just remember to focus on the patients, instead of on you and how you feel about giving the bath. INstinct usually kicks in that way.
  4. by   gitterbug
    Please remember giving a bed bath is very personal, introduce yourself, tell the patient you will be speedy and gentle. Gather all supplies, extra wash cloths are a must, 2 or 3 towels, a bath blanket, clean gown, and linens. Make the water very warm, put your lotion in the water to warm, wash a area, pat dry, apply lotion and move to the next area. Keep patient covered, curtain drawn, and door closed. Bed baths a bonding experience and give the nurse a chance to assess skin and nails. I can do a bath in 10 minutes with linen change. It just takes practice.
  5. by   RNfromMN
    You cannot wrap the pt's head up in enough towels! If you don't wrap their head up, they are not only freezing, but the whole bed will get soaked.
  6. by   adrienurse
    Wrap the washcloth around your hand before using that way it doesn't bunch up. Leave pericare and other dirty areas till last. Wash the face without using soap. Make one washcloth your soapy cloth and the other was your rinsing cloth. Use a basin and don't be afraid to get the person wet (semi dry cloths just don't cut it)
    For a complete bedbath, I do this:
    Face (take time to scrub behind the ears -- nothing says neglect like crust there or in the sternal notch) --> neck --> hands --> arms --> chest --> armpits --> abdomen -->back --->legs -->feet --->genitals--->anal area and buttocks.

    Dry each part as you go to keep the person from getting too cold. If they're really sensitive to cold, use a flannel blanket as your towel and keep them covered, if you make this a warmed flannel blanket they'll love you forever.
  7. by   Antikigirl
    Okay...I may be a little wierd here..but I am not the biggest fan of them too...and I do get a lot of assessment done by them, find the reason for them honestly...but dog gone it...I have no time! BUT..., get your things prepaired! I have a warmer that does the bath it is so nice! Two...I have CNA's..but I need to do some! Three...I take a nice warmed bed bath wipe and do one area at a time, giving them a warm blanket after doing an area (we have warmer blankets!)....and keep on going! Four...I have 3 or 4 dry hand towels to take care of any areas that may be wet after wiping and dab..and cover with the warmer blankets! Five...HAVE the pt do what they can and I will do the rest!!!!!! SIX...if at all possible for modesty..have them do peri areas but double check!

    AND seven...turn the heat up! (actually that is step one..but we are usually thinking of the bath and seven if you forgot! LOL!

    Hey now...the human body may not be pretty..and it can be ugly..but dog gone it is amazing! I think of that when I have to bed bath folks!
  8. by   GardenDove
    Hey, thanks for the tips. I'll be studying this thread.
  9. by   muffie
    elderly pts with delicate dry skin do not need a full bed bath every day
    nor do i have time to do a full q day
    certain parts are dirty and certain parts are not
    when i do have time and the pt is oh so needful, i like to give them my "million dollar bed bath' or "the best bed bath of my career" [wash, rinse, dry and cream every aspect]
    i use 6-10 facecloths and i go into ears and nostrils which can get quite full and neglected over a 2 month hospital stay,
  10. by   Miss Ludie
    Do you have those thin cotton blankets called bath blankets?

    I need 3. One I put under the patient. Roll to the left roll to the right whatever. One I put over them toes to chin.

    Basin water, lotion squirted into the water, bear with me here.

    Hand them a bath cloth.....ask them if possible to wash their face, IF they can. Otherwise use the lotioned water to wash their face gently, ears etc,

    put a towel under their chin and dab face dry. Leave towel like a bib.

    lower the bath blanket from the chest while lowering the bottom edge of the towel, keep the "girls" covered. Now tiny bit of soap on lotioned bath cloth and wash while keeping covered. plain water bathcloth rinse and dab now with the top bath blanket. Work down far as Possible and if they are able, ask them to wash Possible, otherwise you do it. Take bathblanket and make sure all the front is covered. Pad the rail with 2-3 pillows and roll patient.
    Pull bottom bath blanket to cover back and bottom.

    Repeat as above.

    Now I also have what I like to call my boogie-woogie bath. wet lotioned bath towel warmest posible water. Put that the entire length of the patient. Rub through the blanket. then dry bath blanket on front, turn and then do the same to the backside.

    This works on really old, really skinny, or REALLY dirty people. I can do a boogie-woogie bath in under 3 minutes. Now this is the exception rather than the rule.
  11. by   MsLady06
    My facility uses cheap soaps and cheap cloths..most patients are still smelly after a bath. Some patients do not want a bath and need one really bad!!! Me being a nurse I have to respect them and keep humble. My nursing home uses dial is quite gentle but not good on cleansing.
  12. by   elizabeth321
    I can't believe that a nurse of any kind is asking how to do a bed bath? am I missing something?

  13. by   mauxtav8r
    At my hospital the CNAs do baths. Since I'm a student I get to help them often. One very wise CNA advised the following:

    As was said several times above, use hot water in the basin (the cloth will not be too hot by the time the patient feels it). Add soap or lotion or oil.

    This is the key: Place like 5-8 washcloths in the prepared water in the basin, place the dirty linen hamper near enough to "shoot for two". Use the cloths and REPLACE THEM OFTEN. Never, ever, put a dirty cloth back into the clean water.

    This saves tons of time and the patients do notice that they are being cared for with clean cloths.
  14. by   moongirl
    to me, one of the the best parts of my dad's care when he was on a vent was walking into see him and he was shaved, clean and smelled like my dad. I loved those ICU nurses and CNA's for that