Tips for reducing bathing stress in residents

Below is a link to an article on Daily Caring.com that has useful tips to remember when helping to bathe a resident who has Alzheimer’s disease. We encourage you to take a quick look and share with staff, as bathing can be a stressful activity for residents and staff alike.

http://dailycaring.com/7-tips-to-get-someone-with-Alzheimers-to-take-a-bath/

We are announcing a fun contest this week for all of you…please email us (vigne1@verizon.net) a brief “tidbit” of your own that describes how you or a staff member at you facility has been creative in getting residents to shower or bathe without a battle.

The facilities that email us the winning tidbit entries will each receive a gift card towards treating staff to lunch! We will also share your idea in a future weekly tidbit so your experience can help others too. We look forward to reading your great ideas….we know you have them to share!

Combating combative behavior

Here’s a short and sweet—and very practical—tidbit that one of our intervention nurses shared:

In the past when staff have exhausted all approaches/interventions to stop or decrease a resident with combative behavior, I have cut a pool noodle in half or thirds and had the resident hold it in each hand.  I’ve also given the resident gum to chew in order prevent biting the staff.

This beats the alternative of heavily medicating.

Reducing resistance to care

Resisting care, sometimes called combative with care, is a common behavior that is different from agitation or aggression. A person who is resisting care may pull away, attempt to leave or become agitated or aggressive during care activities. An example of a person resisting care may be saying “stop that, leave me alone!” and pulling away from staff during a specific care activity such as bathing. It is thought that resistance occurs because the person does not understand the care activity and sees this as an invasion of their personal space or a threat to their safety.

How to approach the resident:

  • Assume a non-threatening posture: smile and speak in a pleasant tone of voice, keep arms open (not crossed), conduct care at the resident’s eye level and from the side.
  • Don’t stand over the resident
  • Slow down care and ensure you are communicating clearly and explaining the task in a step-by-step process.
  • Do not use “baby talk” (elder speak) when delivering care.

General strategies to reduce care resistance:

Encourage the person with dementia to do as much for themselves as they can. Put objects necessary for the task within their field of vision so they are more easily located and remove objects that are unnecessary or distracting.

  • Identify long-standing habits and adjust routines accordingly. For example, if the resident is used to doing oral care at the sink, take them to the bathroom to complete this part of their care.
  • Consider whether the activity may be uncomfortable or painful and consider pain treatment before the activity.