How to shower a person in a wheelchair

People who are recovering from surgery or injury or those who are permanently disabled face many challenges when it comes to bathing or showering. Those who must use a wheelchair to get around can shower with a sturdy plastic shower chair, which can be placed in a walk-in shower.

If this type of chair or bath is not available, it is necessary to do a “sponge” bath on the bed or in the wheelchair. People who make the most of their hands and arms can bathe on their own. Those with movement and dexterity problems will need help. Really it is not possible to give a person in a normal wheelchair a full bath Unless that person can stop for a few minutes to have their buttocks and genitals cleaned. For this reason, it is best to bathe people in bed or sitting in a shower chair, bath chair, or on the toilet.

Dependent person care

What to use

While you can use a bowl of warm water and a clean washcloth or a hand washcloth to wash a person from head to toe, depending on the Spanish Society of Intensive Nursing, this is not the best option. Although it might be fine for someone who is temporarily bedridden, for the elderly, and people with permanent disabilities or in long-term recovery from surgery or injury, receiving water in bed or wheelchair with soap and water can increase the risk of skin damage and infection.

According to this body, washbasin baths with soap and water should be provided, you should use a disposable sink and distilled water or filtered and sterilized tap water. Use a pH-balanced, leave-in cleanser. Follow up with a hypoallergenic skin lotion to prevent dry skin. A preferable alternative to the lavatory bath is the use of prepackaged washcloths that do not require rinsing. These products provide a pleasant, mess-free bathing experience and perform cleansing and hydration tasks in one easy step. In addition, they leave an antibacterial barrier that protects the skin against infection.

The best prepackaged washcloths are those that contain a 2% solution of chlorhexidine gluconate. This ingredient is very effective in reducing the colonization of bacteria, viruses, and fungal organisms on the skin.

Caring for an elderly person in a wheelchair

Chlorhexidine cloth bath

  1. Follow the instructions to heat the cloths to a comfortable temperature, usually 50ºC.
  2. Wash your hands and wear disposable surgical gloves.
  3. Use a regular washcloth, soap, and water to wash the person’s face.
  4. Open carefully so they don’t fall off and contaminate the warming cloth packet.
  5. Use the cloths to clean under the person’s jaw. Don’t use chlorhexidine cloths on your face. You will use six or more cloths in all to clean the person’s entire body.
  6. Cloth 1: If the person has catheters, IV tubes, EKG lines, or other equipment attached, clean the areas around the insert first. of this equipment and 10 centimeters from the lines or tubes closest to the body. Get rid of the fabric.
  7. Cloth 2: Clean the person’s throat, chest, and shoulders.
  8. Cloth 3: Clean the arms and hands, followed by the armpits.
  9. Cloth 4: Cleanse the stomach and groin area, followed by the perineum.
  10. Cloth 5: Clean the right leg and right foot.
  11. Cloth 6: Clean the left leg and left foot.
  12. Cloth 7: Cleanses the back and sides of the neck, entire back and buttocks.
Man being pulled out of a wheelchair by his caregiver

Additional tips

  • The skin may feel a bit sticky initially, but do not wipe or wash it. Simply allow the skin to air dry for a few minutes.
  • If the person has very dry skin, you can follow up using a barrier protection product or lotion that is compatible with chlorhexidine.
  • Don’t flush chlorhexidine cloths down the toilet. They must be disposed of in the trash, in a closed plastic bag.
  • It is recommended to talk with the person or determine the most comfortable time of day to bathe. Don’t just wake the person up to shower. This can be very detrimental to healing and overall satisfaction.
  • If you need to wash the person’s hair, you can use dry shampoo or a shampoo cap. Alternatively, if the person’s wheelchair can recline, you can wash your hair in the bathroom.
  • As with any cleaning product, chlorhexidine wipes can be carried around for spot cleaning throughout the day.
  • If the person needing to bathe is temporarily incapacitated and only needs to bathe once (or very few times), follow the step-by-step bathing instructions using a bowl of warm, clean water, a small amount of soft water, soap, and a washcloth. clean or hand towel. Change the water several times throughout the process.