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Hygiene Issues for the Debilitated Patient

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 15 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Hygiene Issues For The Debilitated Patient

Hygiene Issues for the Debilitated Patient.

Going into hospital for treatment can be a frightening prospect for most people and the thought of being unable to maintain your own hygiene standards following some treatments such as surgery can be even more off-putting but there are some ways in which the patient can try and relieve some of the worry from this occurrence.

Retain Your Independence.

It is very important to try and maintain your independence when in hospital. Although the thought of having the nurses looking after you can be quite comforting for some patients, looking after your own hygiene needs can be speed up your recovery as it encourages mobilisation which helps in the recovery process.This can be further encouraged by making sure you take your own toiletries into hospital with you.

Using items such as soap that you are familiar with and trust to look after your skin can give great comfort.Remember also to take in things like a hairbrush, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste and even some make-up if you normally wear it. If you are a day-patient you may not think it is necessary and that you won’t require these items but if you have been nil-by-mouth as is required for an anaesthetic you may find you really want to brush your teeth as soon after surgery as you are able.

Hygiene And Care For Immobile Patients.

Of course not all patients go into hospital to have basic surgery and return home within a few days especially those who have broken limbs or other traumatic injuries to the body, may be unable to move for some time. In these instances the nursing staff will provide all the help that is needed to maintain hygiene. The patient and their friends or relatives can assist this process by ensuring the patient’s normal toiletries are brought in for them to use instead of using the hospitals provisions which can tend to be very different to the patient’s usual choices.

If the patient wears dentures these will need cleaning and this is something that frequently gets overlooked whilst the patient is in hospital as it is not something that occurs to everyone if they don’t use them themselves or are unfamiliar with them in general.Often patients will be too embarrassed to ask for help with their dental hygiene but it really is important and can affect mood, ability to eat and drink and can be very uncomfortable if neglected.Again it may be worthwhile taking the patients usual cleaning materials into the hospital.

Bed Linen.

Unfortunately it is not usually possible for the patients to bring in their own bed linen as this poses many infection control risks (there is also a high risk that the patients property could get very soiled and ruined). Patients however, can expect to have a clean bed with the sheets changed regularly and may ask staff to improve the general cleanliness of their bed area if they are unhappy with the standard.

Going into hospital can be a daunting prospect which can be exacerbated by worries about hygiene issues and cleanliness.Most patients benefit from trying to maintain their own hygiene needs without having to rely on hospital staff to carry out the tasks and this can be made better by using their usual toiletries brought in from home.

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