How do you bathe an elderly woman who is bedbound?

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My grandma had another decline this past week due to her dementia, and now is so weak that she can't even take 3 steps without falling. However, because of this I have no way of giving her a bath. Does anyone have any suggestions? Her nurse won't be here for a couple more days, and she desperately needs one.


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Even if you have some help coming in it's good to learn how to do it yourself. You might need to at some point anyway.
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Maybe they don't do it anymore, but in the early 70s I took a short course sponsored by the Red Cross on how to give bed baths. It might be worth checking out. Not everyone has the financial resources to hire home health workers to come in and it's not hard to do for your loved one once you know how. I cared for my bedridden stepfather for several years and had to give him many bed baths. In a few years I may be needing someone willing to do that service for me.
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#1 Get a small tub filled with hot, soapy water.
#2 Get ready a towel and a washcloth.
#3 Get her undressed on the top part of her body and wash and dry it.
#4 Put clothes back on the top part of her body.
#5 Remove all clothing from bottom part of her body.
#6 Wash and dry bottom part of her body.
#7 Add lotion if desired.
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Here in Mississippi, a lot of HomeHealth also do Hospice. Hospitals also offer it but I have only dealt with St. Luke's and they are awesome.
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Whatever you use be sure to use coconut oil on her skin as both moisturizer and skin conditioner (and gentle repair for slight abrasions). For her private areas as well if she has no need for actual barrier creams yet.

If she is bed bound it may indeed be time for a hospice assessment. As another poster advised, go with a not for profit one. I used the nation's oldest: The Connecticut Hospice, but obviously which one you use depends on where you are. And if you don't like the one you choose, you can change to another.
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She should already be in a hospital bed - you can raise it just like at the hospital - and it is much easier to wash them with cloths if you don't have to bend over. Also, the mattresses are in waterproof plastic liners.

When they reach this point, you must get a hospital bed. They are provided free of charge most of the time.
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U-tube videos are excellent on the subject of bed bathing females. Watch two or three and you will be an expert. For the weekly hair shampoo, the white plastic devices that look like small swimming pools with a place for the neck to rest, and drainage tubes to a bucket, work perfectly.
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I'm going through the same thing. I use the NoRinse; four capfuls to a 1/2 small basin (such as the hospitals use) of water. This does not leave a residue. Getting my dad into the wheelchair requires help which I've hired. Then I wash his hair in the bathroom at the sink. Just like the salon, I wrap his neck in towels to absorb the drips. Then I wet the hair with a dripping washcloth, follow with his regular shampoos and immediately follow with three dripping washcloths to rinse all the shampoo. Dad doesn't have thick hair and he likes to keep it short so this works. It took a while to work this out, but he's ok with it.
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Giving a bed bath is not as hard as you might think. Adult wipes and waterless shampoo would be helpful, both of which you can buy in most drugstores. If you can't get them, you can just use washcloths and water. For hair, put a dry towel under her head, then use a fairly wet washcloth to massage her head and clean her hair. If you have waterless shampoo, add some. You don't have to rinse it out, but I like to take another wet washcloth and do a little rinsing anyway to avoid residue. Towel dry, comb, and if needed use a hairdryer, making sure not to hold it too long in one place.
For the body, try to protect her modesty as best as possible - she may be sick but is still your grandmother. I cover with a dry towel or two over private areas while undressing and bathing, and it helps keep her warm
Disposable body wipes are great for short term, or just use a damp washcloth, a basin, and dry with a towel. If she is able to help at all, for private areas hand her the towel and let her wipe. If not, then try keeping a towel over while you do the wiping, just for modesty. The tricky part is the getting at the back/behind. If she can help, ask her to roll over. If not, you can use the bed sheet to help turn her.
Turning can be tricky at first, and you might not get it right the first time, but is good to learn as if she's now bed bound you'll also want to change her position periodically to avoid bedsores. Try searching Youtube videos on how to turn a patient in bed safely, and don't give up! A few days from now when you do have a nurse, ask them for tips!
Remember...you don't have to be perfect, you just have to love her enough to try to help.
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