Being bedridden is a predicament that can cause a lot of misery, both physically and emotionally. If you have the responsibility of taking care of a bedridden loved-one, you’ll want to do everything you can to make them feel as comfortable as possible, despite their circumstances.
These four essential tips will show you how to make your loved-one feel more comfortable in bed.
Ensuring the hygiene and cleanliness of your patient is an important part of your responsibility. It will also contribute to their feeling of wellbeing.
Allow your patient to bathe and clean themselves as much as possible, with your aid, on a daily basis. Alternatively, offer daily bed baths to refresh, cleanse and relax them. Make sure all parts of the body are thoroughly washed and then dried.
Brush their teeth as often as they request, wash and shampoo their hair and keep finger and toenails clean and trimmed. Apply moisturizers to dry hands and feet and help with make-up application or shaving needs if required. Use the bath and cleansing time to provide a back or foot rub to help stimulate your patient’s circulation and to also soothe and relax them.
2. Comfort while lying down
You don’t want your loved-one to feel any discomfort while lying down in bed. Ask them where they feel any areas of strain, e.g., their back or joints, and experiment with different lying positions – include the use of bed and pillow supports to find their most comfortable position. If you’re changing your patient’s position in bed, communicate as much as you can to help them co-operate and anticipate your moving them.
Sometimes a draw sheet and an extra helper may be needed to move the patient. If possible, purchase a hospital bed that allows the patient to lie and sit up in varying positions of comfort with the touch of a button.
3. Changing the bed
Aim to change your patient’s bed linens as often as possible – daily being ideal. If they become soiled, it is a priority to change linen immediately, without delay. Placing a protective draw sheet across the middle of the bed can make changing soiled sheets easier, as can using waterproof coverings (along with a cotton pad for the patient’s comfort). If the patient is still in bed when changing the sheets, make half of the bed at a time, rolling the patient to each side as the other is being made.
4. Alternating pressure mattress
Invest in a good alternating pressure mattress to prevent your loved- one from developing painful bedsores that could further affect their health and comfort. An alternating pressure mattress is a mattress that is filled with segregated air cells. These cells are alternately filled with air or partially deflated via a pump, so that no areas of continuous pressure are placed on the patient’s body. As well as preventing bedsores, these mattresses help heal existing sores and also avoids the need for the patient to be moved manually every few hours.
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