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Mom has been declining fast these past couple of months. She is so weak, frail, sick, and cold all the time, that getting her into the shower is impossible, and I'm not going to force her. She's nearing the point of being totally bedridden. She can't stand or even get herself upright on her own, and has to be transported in a wheelchair.

Between me and home support, we are able to get her clean with regular sponge baths, but I have no idea how to wash her hair. And it's starting to smell....bad. Like, I'm pretty sure she's somehow gotten fecal matter in there! I know mom feels better when her hair is clean, and I'd like to get this done for her, but I'm not sure how, and home support doesn't seem to have any ideas either.

I did install a detachable shower head in the shower, but the bathroom is small and awkward, and there's no way to get her head tipped back far enough.....I can't think of any creative ideas that wouldn't get her and the entire room soaked. The kitchen also has a detachable sink hose sprayer, but she can't stand upright at all.

Any ideas? I have tried dry shampoo, but it only works for so long before it builds up, and it doesn't deal with the smell....plus there's nothing like that freshly-washed hair feeling!

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If you Google "washing hair while bedridden" you can locate many products--both simple and cheap and complicated and expensive--that you can use to shampoo someone's hair while the person is sitting in a wheelchair or lying in bed. You can also locate videos that show hair-washing techniques to use with people who are lying in bed or who must have their hair washed while they are in a wheelchair.
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She was rather tight-lipped about it, cwillie! When I asked her how she managed it, she smiled and said it was her little secret! Grrr!
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BTW, there are inflatable shampoo basins made specifically for this, although the ones on amazon.ca are as usual ridiculously over priced.
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I'm glad your caregiver came through for you, those ladies usually know a lot more than they let on. It always frustrated me that our caregivers were so tight lipped about what they had seen and done in other homes. If they've been working for any length of time you know they must have come across lots of ways that others do things, I get there are privacy concerns but sharing that someone had "this" gadget or someone else tried "that" method isn't invading anybody's privacy. One time I explained to our caregiver about the toilet bidet attachments and we discussed what a good idea it must be for older people, it wasn't til several months later she let it slip that one of her other clients had one :P
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Well.....I had just closed out the forum and gotten dressed when respite showed up. Mom's hair was still on my mind, so I asked the worker if she had any tips for me. She said, "Well, let me think. I've used a bedpan before...." I said I might try that, and then I went on my merry way.

When I came back, the worker had managed to wash mom's hair without even getting her out of bed. :-) Such lovely ladies. I don't know how I would even manage without home support. Well, I wouldn't manage!

So it looks like she just put an underpad under mom, put a small pillow under mom's neck, put towels around her, and did it bit-by-bit like polarbear suggests. Even the underpad is barely wet!  It probably helps that mom's hair is short and fine. I think if I got sick, my hair could never be managed that way!

cwillie - The OT has been several times, but she seemed as flummoxed as I was about the hair-washing question....and I was only asking for future consideration at that point! She basically said, dry shampoo, but agreed that it wouldn't be good long-term. Then she mentioned the community baths. Which is just impossible - if I could get mom out the door for a hair-washing, I'd just take her to the hair dresser.

The shower is one of those one-piece molded things with a built-in seat. So we did add a bunch of grab bars and a thing that helps mom push up off the toilet. It's just SMALL. And awkward, especially now that we have to get the wheelchair in there. There's barely room for a 2nd person now. The other bathroom is only slightly bigger, as it's fitted with a tub (that's too high on the sides for mom), and it's not OT outfitted at all. I could set it up, but I still don't think there's a way to wash hair in there.

As for getting mom into the shower....I feel like she can't even bear it anymore - it makes her feel so cold and tired, that I don't think showering helps her feel better these days. She is content enough to let herself be sponge-bathed.
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Just how inaccessible is your bathroom? Have you had an OT come in to make suggestions about showers and shampoos? I think that if there is any way possible to get your mom in the shower I would try it simply because being warm and clean makes you feel better (mom used to say "I tingle all over" lol).
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Hey thanks for all the input, everyone!

MsMadge - I think it is painful for mom to have to tip her head back at the kitchen sink, as the wheelchair only has a straight up and down back and doesn't recline.

cwillie - They will do a thing if I ask them, I just wasn't sure HOW hair washing can be done. Usually I have to give them the specifics of a directive, or else it has to be in their "care plan" before they'll automatically do it. It's not yet, as she's just started refusing the shower in the last month or two....I'll have to get the community nurse to visit, then she has to make a new care plan, then it takes some time to go through the home support office, etc., etc., ad nauseum. (Edit: unless it's one of the older, more experienced ladies, but I never know who I'm going to get for each visit.)  I was hoping if I could come up with a "how" plan, then I'd just ask a worker when one is here or we could do it together if need be. She agreed earlier to have her scheduled shower this week - supposed to be yesterday morning - but then refused again when the time came. So I was hoping to at least get her hair cleaned before my brother comes up to visit Saturday. :-)

Thanks everyone else! I'd reply further but my respite worker is to be here in 25 minutes and I've delayed getting ready in writing this much!!! More later!
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Some hits on similar questions:

https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=no+rinse+shampoo

DON'T click on the link as "shampoo" will be truncated and you won't get the same hits; copy the entire URL and paste it onto the address bar.
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I've seen no rinse shampoo used in many SNFs, and used it myself when I had my stroke. If you use enough of it, it does leave a clean feeling (depending on the brand you buy). You do have to experiment with it to ensure that enough shampoo is used though.

Dorianne, given your mother's situation, I wouldn't even try to move her, but "bring the world to her."

Try different no rinse shampoos; I got a good one at Walgreens. But they are expensive. You might not get the odor or all the grit out the first time, but try the second time.

And make it a "happy event." Play her favorite CD before and during the process, make sure she's well covered with a blanket underneath either a towel or something waterproof. Finish up with a cup of coffee, herbal tea, more music, and whatever else she likes so that she can look forward to another shampoo, i.e., begin and end with positive activities and reinforcement.
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Don't you have aides coming in? Why isn't that their job?
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A great thread, Dorianne! This is becoming an issue for my mom too. Thank you, fo2a0507, for the "astoreformom"! A lot of great things there, like pressure sore prevention items, bed tables that are actually inexpensive! astoreformom.com.
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There's a rinse-free Shampoo & Conditioner cap that you can get online. Easy to use. We've been using them with our residents who are bedridden. You can get them at astoreformom.com .
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This is how I did for myself one time when i could not get in the shower to wash my hair.
I got a small plastic basin, drew some warm water and put just a very tiny bit of shampoo into the water.
Then I dipped a baby wipe in the water and squeezed it to get most of the water out.
I parted my hair and used the wipe to rub clean the part of scalp that was exposed. After that, I rinsed the baby wipe, and again squeezed it to get most of the water out.
Then I parted my hair again, right next to the first parting line to clean the next part of the scalp.
I methodically did this until the entire surface of the scalp was rubbed clean. It took a while to finish it.
Then I cleaned the hair, one small section at a time, again by using the wipe to clean the length of the hair shaft.

I can tell you that my head and hair felt very clean afterward.

If you do this for your mom, you might need to change the water and wipe a few times since you said her hair was very dirty.
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Dori
If you go on Amazon there are capes and funnels for folks in wheelchairs
Back mom to the kitchen sink
Wrap her in towels and with an extra set of hands from home support you can get it done
Not saying water won't hit the kitchen floor but you should be able to keep it at a moderate amount
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