SHOWER ASSISTANCE #1 – Safety stuff
Basically, if you don’t care about your client… it will show.
And as trained care-workers you have a Duty of Care obligation to keep your client safe at all times. You’ll find this ‘Duty of Care’ phrase bandied around quite a bit in Aged-Care circles but it’s there to hopefully prevent negligence and to protect the rights of your client - and ultimately, you.
And although it can be complex to understand, basically it means that if you don’t follow your company’s procedures and policies, you could end up being taken to court and losing your job, if… (and I’m only saying IF) something terrible happens.
What with every bathroom being so different and every client being such an individual, with their own specific circumstances and needs (not to mention their random quirky bits), carer’s have quite the responsibility to stay aware and to adapt to each situation as professionally as they can, while at the same time trying to maintain ultimate client contentment.
In other words – DON’T LET THEM FALL!
Showers can be very vulnerable places so the last thing you need is a wobbly naked pensioner to feel frightened in their own bathroom. So get chatting, relieve the awkwardness and ask them what they like and what they don’t like; are they going out today; isn't the weather dreadful lately (good old WEATHER discussions always break the ice and move things into a more casual and sociable footing).
HOORAY FOR EASIER!
THE CARE PLAN
It is absolutely crucial to familiarise yourself with any health concerns or medical issues your client has BEFORE you attempt to shower them. And the Care Plan contains the important paperwork that holds all the juicy info you could ever need – and then some! Not only will reading the CP dictate how you treat your client, but it will also offer insight on how much and what kind of assistance you will need to provide for them.
For example, if your elderly client has had a stroke they will likely not have full use of one side of their body. Consequently this means you need to alter the way you dress and undress them. If you hadn't read the notes in the CP you would not have known this and off you would charge... headlong into an embarrassing and potentially dangerous situation that leaves your client feeling so anxious and upset that they ring your employer later on, to tell on you.
A change in the client’s health status is something a personal carer needs to be aware of and usually the client won’t think to tell you - so you need to be all over it, baby.
Again, in my experience, just talking to your client is the best way to relieve any awkwardness and it shows that you understand and are considerate of their feelings (ie: you care).
Offer your client the respect and dignity you would hope for if it was YOU getting the once-over.
And don’t worry, they will soon let you know if you are rubbing their back too hard or they have soap in their wotsit!
Will they be getting undressed/dressed in the bedroom or in the bathroom?
Make sure you clarify beforehand so there is no unnecessary time-wasting or leaving your client to wait and get all cold and grumpy while you fluff round finding bra and underpants somewhere in the bedroom dresser… third drawer down… on the right... next to the bed I think she said…OH MY GOD WHERE???
TO TOILET OR NOT TO TOILET?
After all, if you're going to have an accident... it’s the best place to have it!