Tub Baths and Showers
Tub baths and showers provide personal hygiene, stimulate circulation, and reduce tension for the patient. They also allow you to observe skin conditions and assess joint mobility and muscle strength. If not precluded by the patient’s condition or safety considerations, privacy during bathing promotes the patient’s sense of well-being by allowing him to assume responsibility for his own care.
Patients who are recovering from recent surgery, who are emotionally unstable, or who have casted extremities or dressings in place usually require the doctor’s permission for a tub bath or shower.
One or two washcloths ▪ bath towels ▪ bath blanket ▪ skin cleaner (such as soap or a hypoallergenic equivalent) ▪ nonskid bath mat, if tub lacks nonskid strips ▪ nonskid shower chair for shower ▪ towel mat ▪ bath (utility) thermometer ▪ occupied sign ▪ clean clothing or hospital gown ▪ hospital-grade disinfectant ▪ Optional: chair, shower cap, clear plastic bag and tape, bath oil, shampoo or mild castile soap.
Preparation of Equipment
Prepare the bathing area before the patient arrives. Close any doors or windows and adjust the room temperature to avoid chilling the patient. Check that the bathtub or shower is clean. Then gather bathing articles and observe appropriate safety measures.
For A Bath
Position a chair next to the tub to help the patient get in and out of the tub and to provide a seat if he becomes weak. Place a bath blanket over the chair to cover the patient if he becomes chilled. Fill the tub halfway with water, and test the temperature with a bath thermometer. The temperature should range from 100° to 110°F (38° to 43°C). If you don’t have a bath thermometer, test the temperature by immersing your elbow in the water; it should feel comfortable to the touch. Besides the obvious risk of scalding the patient, excessively hot water can cause cutaneous vasodilation, which alters blood flow to the brain and may lead to dizziness or fainting. Place a rubber mat in the tub and place a towel mat on the floor in front of the tub to prevent slipping.
For A Shower
Place a nonskid chair in the shower to provide support. The chair also allows the patient to sit down while washing his legs and feet, reducing the risk of falling.
Cover the floor of the shower with a nonskid mat unless it already has nonskid strips. Next, place a towel mat next to the bathing area. Remove electrical appliances, such as hair dryers and heaters, from the patient’s reach to prevent electrical accidents. Adjust water flow and temperature just before the patient gets into the shower. Place a rubber mat in the tub and place a towel mat on the floor in front of the tub to prevent slipping.