January is National Bath Safety Month! When caring for seniors and people with disabilities, safety while bathing is a concern caregivers have as accidents can happen quite easily in the bathtub or shower. The floor is slippery from condensation and water that escaped from the tub or shower. Also, the bathtub and shower can be dangerous as well for older adults transitioning from sitting and standing positions. However, there are several ways for caregivers to safely bathe older adults and people with disabilities.
These are some suggestions on how to safely bathe an older adult.
- Bathroom Assistive Devices – Installing a bar for them to grab on as they enter in and out of the tub/shower is a good way to keep them safe. Even if you are assisting, the bar is extra support.
- Sponge Bathing – This is a good way to clean the older adult at one section of the body at a time. Even if a loved one is somewhat mobile, it can be exhausting some days to bath head-to-toe. Remember to keep them warm.
- Transfer Bench – This is a bench that can sit halfway in and out of a bathtub, so the person receiving the bath can sit on it while coming in and out of the tub.
- Bed Bath – Don’t bring them to the bath, bring the bath to them! You need two bowls filled with water and perform a wash, rinse, and dry pattern for the bathing time.
These are a couple of suggestions on how to safely bathe someone who has a disability and cannot bathe on their own. According to Lindhextend.com
- “Installing Slip – Resistant Floors – This can help reduce falling from excess water that gets out onto the floor during the bathing process.
- Roll – In Showers – These are designated for bathing with people who are confined to a wheelchair. The shower should be large enough for the wheelchair to maneuver within the stall. Most roll-in showers have beveled thresholds about 0.5″ high to allow the wheelchair to roll over. To save on the cost, many roll-in showers can be retrofitted into exiting bathtub areas.
A lot of people may be concerned that as a caregiver, they can’t give the person they are responsible for a way to clean themselves. Let us know if you ever have a question about safety or would like to chat with us about the caregiving services we provide.