In order to care for a person who has been bedridden due to surgery or a chronic illness, such as Alzheimer’s, for example, it is important to ask the nurse or responsible doctor for basic instructions on how to feed, dress or bathe, to avoid aggravating the disease and improving your quality of life.
Thus, to keep the person comfortable and, at the same time, to prevent wear and pain in the caregiver’s joints, here is a guide with some simple tips on how the daily care plan should be, which include meeting basic needs such as getting up, turn around, change the diaper, feed or bathe the bedridden person.
1. Taking care of personal hygiene
The hygiene of those who are bedridden is very important to avoid the accumulation of dirt that can lead to the development of bacteria, worsening their health. Thus, the precautions that must be taken include:
- Bath at least every 2 days. Learn how to bathe a bedridden person ;
- Wash your hair at least once a week. Here’s how to wash a bedridden person’s hair ;
- Change clothes every day and whenever it is dirty;
- Change sheets every 15 days or when they are dirty or wet. See an easy way to change the sheets of a bedridden person ;
- Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day, especially after eating. Check out the steps to brush someone’s bedridden teeth ;
- Cut the nails of the feet and hands, once a month or whenever necessary.
Hygiene care should only be done in bed when the patient is not strong enough to go to the bathroom. When cleaning the bedridden person, one must be aware if there are sores on the skin or mouth, informing the nurse or the doctor who accompanies the patient.
2. Dealing with urine and feces
In addition to maintaining personal hygiene through bathing, it is also extremely important to deal with faeces and urine, to prevent their accumulation. To do so, you must:
How to deal with urine
The bedridden person urinates, usually, 4 to 6 times a day and, therefore, when he is conscious and is able to hold the pee, the ideal is that he asks to go to the bathroom. If she is able to walk, she should be taken to the bathroom. In other cases, it should be done in the bedpan or in a urinal.
When the person is not conscious or has urinary incontinence, it is recommended to use a diaper that should be changed whenever it is wet or dirty. In the case of urinary retention, the doctor may advise the use of a bladder probe that must be kept at home and that requires special care. Learn how to care for the person with a bladder catheter .
How to deal with feces
The elimination of feces can change when the person is bedridden, being, in general, less frequent and with more dry feces. Thus, if the person does not evacuate for more than 3 days, it may be a sign of constipation and it may be necessary to massage the belly and offer more water or give laxative under medical advice.
In case the person is wearing a diaper, see step-by-step to change the diaper when it is dirty .
3. Ensure adequate nutrition
The bedridden person’s feeding should be done at the same time as the person used to eat, but should be adapted according to their health problems. To do this, you should ask the doctor or nutritionist about the foods to give preference.
Most bedridden people are still able to chew food, so they just need help getting food into their mouths. However, if the person has a feeding tube, special care must be taken when feeding. Here’s how to feed a person with a tube .
In addition, some people, especially the elderly, may have difficulty swallowing food or liquids, so it may be necessary to adapt the consistency of the dishes to each person’s abilities. For example, if the person has difficulty swallowing water without choking, a good tip is to offer gelatin. However, when the person is unable to swallow solid foods, preference should be given to porridges or “pass” the food to make it more pasty.
4. Maintain comfort
The comfort of the bedridden person is the main objective of all the aforementioned cares, however, there are other cares that help to keep the person more comfortable during the day, without injuries or with less pain and that include:
- Turn the person, at most, every 3 hours to avoid the appearance of bedsores on the skin. Find out how to make bedridden more easily ;
- Raise the person whenever possible, allowing him to eat or watch television with family members in the room, for example. Here’s a simple way to lift a bedridden person ;
- Exercise with the patient’s legs, arms and hands at least 2 times a day to maintain the strength and breadth of the joints. See the best exercises to do .
It is also recommended to keep the skin well hydrated, applying a moisturizing cream after bathing, stretching the sheets well and taking other precautions to prevent the appearance of skin wounds.
When to go to the doctor
It is recommended to call the doctor, see a general practitioner or go to the emergency room when the bedridden person has:
- Fever higher than 38º C;
- Skin wounds;
- Urine with blood or foul smell;
- Bloody stools;
- Diarrhea or constipation for more than 3 days;
- Absence of urine for more than 8 to 12 hours.