When a patient is bedridden, the circulation isn’t as good as it should be. A gentle massage can improve the circulation and give the patient a feeling of well-being. Don’t stop with the back; gently massage the arms, legs, and feet. Using an upward motion, massage up with the heel of the hand and then circle around and massage down. Continue rubbing long enough for it to be effective, from three to five minutes. Your patient will love it.
Help the patient to put on a gown or pajamas. Comb the patient’s hair and arrange it comfortably. Remove all bath equipment. Now your patient is ready for the day, or perhaps a nap.
If your patient is not able to dress himself, you will have to provide assistance. Perhaps you will be picking out the type of clothes they will wear. Encourage your loved one to get dressed and not to sit around in a nightgown and robe. When the patient is dressed to go out into the world, they feel better. Sitting around in a robe tends to lead to a depressed state. You don’t want that. You want your loved one to feel as though they could go out of the house anytime, even if they have to be in a wheelchair. If your loved one is in bed all the time, their lack of good circulation may leave them feeling cold. In this case, I have found that sweatsuits work well to warm their fragile body. The soft fleece lining in sweatpants tends to warm their legs and help the circulation. Warmth and message will help improve circulation, at least temporarily.
When the patient is immobile it helps to have a sweater or warm shawl. It seems that the shoulders and back get cold when just sitting. It takes some extra care to keep them warm. A lap robe is good to keep the legs warm too.
It is important to brush or comb the patient’s hair and keep them looking and feeling neat and clean. No one likes to have company if their hair isn’t fixed properly. I know that my mother was always asking me if her hair looked all right. She wanted to look her best at all times...and she did.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Always use a rubber sheet or plastic under a draw sheet on the patient’s bed.
- Warm the room before bathing
- Have all needed supplies close at hand
- Warm a blanket in the dryer to cover the patient while bathing
- Put a second blanket in the dryer to keep the patient warm when you are finished
- Talk to the patient during the bath to keep them comfortable
- Gently massage the patient’s back, legs, and feet to increase circulation
- Remember to smile and keep a positive attitude
- Report any unusual conditions observed to the doctor