How to Take Care of a Bedridden Patient
If you have a bedridden relative who you need to take care of around the clock, we can agree that it can be REALLY hard to fulfill all their needs all the time.
Well, with a few tips you can learn to do it right and reduce the effect of their tantrums that you may consider “a little bit too much” at times.
In this article, you will learn how to take care of your loved one and what measures to take to ensure life is easier for both of you.
At this point, you are only as happy, contented, and comfortable to the extent they are.
To be bluntly honest with you, the “But they are so stubborn, they do not seem to appreciate anything I do for them” attitude won’t help you in any way.
So before we even get to what you need to do for the patient, you may start with adjusting your attitude a little. Keep in mind that the patient wouldn’t want to be in that place, and they are probably frustrated more than you are.
If you do it right, it does get better.
Tips on Taking Care of a Bedridden Patient
Be Conscious of the Hygiene and Grooming of Your Loved One.
Ensuring that a bedridden individual is well-groomed is vital. This includes simple activities such as;
- Bathing – The level of assistance depends on the stage of the patient. Some people can bath with little assistance, while others cannot do this anymore. In the last case, a bed bath every day is acceptable and equally refreshing.
- Dental Care – Like in the bathing case, some patients can do it, but some may need help.
- Clothing – Why change their clothes, and they don’t get dirty anyway? Changing their beddings and clothing every day is critical as it helps avoid germs. Germs can lead to a lot of harm to an individual with a low income.
- Fingernails and Toenails – The healing process can be a little itchy, which may lead to scratches that can be hurtful. Trimming the nails of the patient can, therefore, save them unnecessary pain.
- Combing or Shaving – A good haircut is vital to keep away parasites such as bedbugs and lice that are attracted by unkempt hair. If the patient loved their hair long, commit to combing their hair as they loved it.
- Looking good makes people feel better about themselves. These grooming activities will, therefore, not only help them feel healthy but good too.
Look Out for Bedsores.
Bedridden patient care includes prevention of pressure sores, commonly known as bedsores. The sores result from sitting or sleeping in one position for a long time. This is crucial because if not well attended to; the sores could be infectious and add more problems to the patient’s ill health.
Top prevent sores;
- Check the most vulnerable areas frequently. This includes; hips, ankles, tail bones, knees, legs, and buttocks
- Keep their skin clean and dry
- If they still have the ability to move, encourage them to change their sleeping positions, and do simple exercises.
- Place pillows between parts of their body that press each other, such as knees & ankles
- Talk to a practitioner on safe ways of repositioning the patient
Change their Bed Linens Everyday
This may seem like a small thing, but to a bedridden patient, it makes a big difference. Their bedding can be soiled from dirt, baths, food, and other debris.
For the sake of their hygiene and health; here is a list of factors to consider when changing the bedding;
Since your loved one is spending most of his time in bed, it’s important that you change the top sheets, pillowcases and fitted sheet every day.
- Ensure you replace the linen with a well-laundered pair
- Ensure that the material of the linen is favorable for them in terms of texture and warmth
- It’s easier to forget comforters and blankets. You do not need to change then every day but it’s vital to do it regularly too.
Be Careful with What You Feed Them.
A healthy diet is essential for everyone, sick or not. If you are taking care of a bedridden patient, ensuring they eat right is part of your responsibility.
Speak to the doctor to see what types of foods are healthy for the patient, depending on their condition.
Some types of food that you may think are healthy may be deteriorating the health of the patient.
For example, foods rich in vitamin K, such as broccoli and spinach, may counteract the effects of blood-thinners like warfarin.
Here are the general tips when feeding them;
- Observe their feeding habits. For instance, they may prefer eating small bits of food spread throughout the day instead of specific times.
- Keep them hydrated by helping them sip water and other non-sugary products throughout the day.
- Try to balance their diet by keeping track of calories and nutrients
- Make a habit of journaling to track their feeding habits for an accurate doctor report
Ensure the Room of the Patient is Conducive
The environment we are in has a lot to do with how we feel. Take some time to ensure;
- The room of your loved one has good lighting
- The path to the bathroom clean (with no clutter)
- The things they consistently use, such as book, diary, phone, and alarm are within reach
- You air the room for fresh air to circulate
Their room is free from noise, especially when they are resting for quality sleep
Bonus: Step-By-Step Instructions on How to Change a Bedridden Patient’s Adult Diapers
When taking care of a bedridden patient at home, you may have to change diapers when he is lying. This simple steps will make it easier for you and more comfortable for your loved one;
- If he is wearing pants, pull them down completely instead of rolling them to his ankles.
- Carefully roll the patient to his side and peep for bowel movements and urine.
- Undo the sides of the diapers, open it and cautiously fold it to contain the soiled part
- Use wipes to clean all the dirt or a warm piece of cloth depending on the temperature. Lift his legs to reach all the soiled areas.
- Now roll the patient on the other side and remove the diaper
- Lay an open, new/clean diaper behind your loved one to allow him to roll easily on it.
- Roll him/her to the diaper
- Pull the diaper through his legs to the front side and attach the fronts and sides of the diaper
- Put the used diapers in a grocery bag, seal, and dispose of.
We hope that our tips on taking care of a bedridden patient will help your experience become more pleasant.
Taking care of a bedridden patient can become a lonely path sometimes. Understand that asking for professional help, does not mean you do not care for your loved one. It could be better for both of you, and you could still take care of him/ her even when he/she in a care center.
Alternatively, if you can afford a nurse to help you with caregiving at home, you can go for it.
What if you can’t afford all this? Search for free support groups and follow the advice of caregivers who offer free advice. Also, keep in touch with the doctors for any additional information you may need to know.