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Washups and showers

November 4, 2010
by Kathleen Mears
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At my previous facility, I got a shower every day. The warm water relaxed my muscles, raised my spirits, and increased my circulation. It was a good start to the day.

At this facility I only get two showers a week. That means I had to get used to morning washups. The night shift aides wash up and shower the residents who need the most assistance. I am grateful that I can get a bed bath each day even though it is quick.

I have rinse-less soap because it takes less time for the aides to bathe me. But my skin feels better if they wash with the soap and then rinse afterwards, as there can be itchy residue left on my skin with the rinse-less soap.

 

There have been many times throughout my life when I have had to be washed up because there was no one to help me get a shower. Back then, I used plenty of water and tried to simulate a shower, which made me feel more comfortable.

Some residents here do not want to get showers and a few scream and fight with the aides during one. I have told the aides the way I like to be bathed. I think they would understand that I want to be clean. It also might be a welcome break from the residents who do not want to clean up.

When my hair is only washed twice a week my scalp itches. I got on the Internet to see what hair cleaning products are available. I found several sprays that are used on dry hair. They dry up the oil and freshen the hair. A shopping channel had towelettes that clean the hair from the roots to the ends. They also have a built in styling product. But since I have short curly hair, I think I will stay with the rinse-less product with water.

On my first shower day the aides and I were both nervous. I showed them how I stood for transfer and it worked out pretty well. Although, the aides do have to be careful when we are in the shower room as I use my own shower chair and it rolls quickly.

I hoped that the shower sprayer would have enough pressure to effectively rinse soap from my skin. Unfortunately, my first experience with the sprayer was not very strong. I realized that the aides want to avoid getting soaking wet while doing showers. I think a more direct sprayer with a shut off button would do a better and quicker job.

Being cleaned up is an essential part of my day. Whether I get a good bed bath or shower I feel relaxed and mentally healthier.

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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...