Recently I evaluated an 81 year old client who had been hospitalized for exacerbation of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and had just returned home. She had been living alone in a single level apartment and her habit was to sit in the bottom of the tub for bathing. She rarely had caregiver assistance and no longer felt safe with this bathing routine due to chronic back pain and legal blindness in her right eye. It was time for some modification to her bathing plan.
Bathing Safety for Elderly is important
Instead of her shower chair being used to hold towels, we placed it in the tub shower. A hand held hose was installed to replace her current shower head so she could sit and control the water direction. She obtained a long handled nylon scrubber to assist with reaching her feet and back. She already had a small suction rubber mat and caddy to hold necessary items. A small flat rug outside the tub in a contrasting color with rubber backing completed her safety measures since she had two grab bars previously installed.
Mrs. G. demonstrated safe transfers and was educated to wear her oxygen during bathing to ensure good saturation and reduce shortness of breath. There may be a time that she will need to sit by the sink and sponge bathe, but for now, she is delighted with her modified version of tub bathing.
It is always a good idea to observe the bathing routine of a loved one if possible, even if they tell you they are doing just fine. Bathing safety for elderly and fine tuning safety measures will prevent falls as well as the fear of falling and ensure a pleasant bathing experience.