I work in a trauma/medical/surgical/neuro and love bathtime with my patients! It's a great opportunity to "bond" with the patients and really get an excellent skin assessment. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can stand back after my baths and see a clean, fresh patient on crisp white sheets. I shave my male patient's faces and my female patient's legs and underarms (I buy the big pack of disposable razors at Costco and use one for each patient because the hospital-issued ones are crap; I've cut many patient's faces up with those cheap blades!). In the past, I've even painted toenails on a young lady who, according to her family, was very conscious of her appearance.
I wash my patients hair with either the shampoo caps or use the hair washing tray we have (it has a hose connected to the bottom part of it that you put into the sink or a garbage can to drain water) and in the case of women with long hair (who've been in our unit for weeks and have very tangled up locks), I will put a bit of conditioner in it and braid it so it doesn't continue to get tangled up. My baths take approximately 30-40 minutes from start to finish, including oral care, trach care, and any dressing changes that need to be done.
I have a little "goodie" bag that I bring in filled with quality razors, elastic bands for the hair, hair detangler, conditioner, shaving cream (in case I can't get any from patient supply), linen spray (for those who aren't sensitive to fragrances and aren't on vents), and grapefruit lotion (ambiguous enough for both male and females....again, I don't use unless family/patient is able to tell me if the patient is sensitive to fragrances or has allergies).
I look forward to my bed baths even though in the beginning I was timid about doing it all on my own (I had been giving baths with my preceptor all through nursing school). But I eventually got over it and have made it into my own little "ritual" with my patients. The families are always very appreciative, especially when the little things like shaving legs and armpits (on gals) are done. I know that when I'm sick, I feel tons better when I actually get my butt into the shower and lather up. It may not make me "healthier" or any less sick, but I somehow feel better. I like to think my patients feel much the same way.
Melanie = )