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Shower aides are back

November 8, 2009
by Kathleen Mears
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This facility began to use shower aides again the beginning of November. We have two shower aides on our unit and each aide works three 12-hour shifts a week. That means shower aides give showers Monday through Saturday. If any showers are given on Sundays, the floor aides do them.

Having shower aides changes some things. When floor aides did showers, they had to do them quickly because they have so many other things to do. Shower aides may have a bit more time, depending on how much they have to do for us before and after our showers.

The shower aide does about 20 showers a day. One shower aide has been one here before. So she knows how to set up her schedule efficiently. The other one is new and has to learn how to organize the process herself. Shower aides are required to assist at meal times either by working in the dining room or passing trays on the hall.

This week has been a bit confusing because my aide brushes my teeth and gets me ready for my shower. Then the shower aide takes me to the shower room, does my shower, and gets me dressed.

If it all sounds confusing, it is right now. But there is better continuity when the same two people give showers most of the time. They become used to the residents' routines, know where things are, and what to do. However, the other aides will sometimes do showers either to help out or just because they have the time.

It definitely relieves some stress from the floor aides to know that one aide will be devoted to doing most showers. Then floor aides can concentrate on AM and HS resident care and possibly be able to spend a little bit more time with each resident. I am sure aides are still adapting to the new system.

In order to be safe, shower aides need to wear nonslip shoes in the shower room. Waterproof shoes would be helpful as well. One shower aide told me her shoes are wet all day and it took most of the next day for them to dry out. Shower aides may need to bring another pair of shoes with them. In the past, shower aides tried wearing boots over their shoes; but some found them too cumbersome. I know from observing that being in constant water is very hard on the shower aides’ shoes.

Despite the footwear and organizational issues, it seems like things are going pretty well. We residents requested that administration consider reinstating shower aides over a year ago. We had become accustomed to them under different ownership. So now we have shower aides again.

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Kathleen Mears

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Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...