Sponge bathing the elderly with Alzheimer’s dementia
During late-stage Alzheimer’s, the person with dementia may require a sponge bath since he/she is bedridden, hospitalized or afraid of showering.
Several times my Mom needed sponge bathing when she was ill or hospitalized. A sponge bath is not as difficult to give as you might think. But there are regimented steps to follow.
Always remember the creases of the skin where germs seem to hide, and separate your bathing areas so that you don’t transfer germs from one part of the body to another.
What You Need:
- Small Tub of warm water
- Liquid, antiseptic soap of your choice
- 6 Soft Wash Cloths – Large Towel
Add the liquid soap to the water and swish to create a few suds. As you wash each area be sure to towel-dry before moving on to the next area. Help your patient stay warm with an additional towel or sheet for covering as wet skin in the open air can cause a chill.
==>> One step at a time, one wash cloth at a time <==
If they are able, the person being bathed may certainly help while you offer guidance in the correct order of washing the body. My Mom was able to do the washing, but never understand the dynamics of starting with her face first. The object is to avoid any transfer of germs from one area of the body to another.
- Wash Cloth 1: So begin with the first wash cloth. After soaking in the warm water, wring the wash cloth until it is still quite damp. Wash the face and neck. Be extra diligent to creases in the skin. When finished with the face and neck, Pat the area dry and discard the first wash cloth.
- Wash Cloth 2: With the warm, damp wash cloth gently wash the arms and chest area. Careful to get all the creases in the skin clean. Pat area dry and discard wash cloth.
- Wash Cloth 3: With the warm, damp wash cloth gently wash waist area and genitals. Again, watch for all creases and thoroughly cleanse those areas. Pat area dry and discard wash cloth. Help patient remain covered for modesty with a larger towel or sheet.
- Wash Cloth 4: With the warm, damp wash cloth cleanse both legs. Same as for previous areas. Then discard wash cloth.
- Wash Cloth 5: Gently roll patient to one side wash back areas that were not reached from the front. This often takes an extra wash cloth, hence the reason for 6 Wash cloths.Always wash from the top down. Always use different wash cloths for different areas of the body to prevent transferring germs. You might refresh the warm tub water also, as needed.
==> Just as a good shower can brighten our spirits
a nice sponge bathe can help an ailing body and brighten a mood <==
After a nice warm sponge bath, some aromatic body lotion would certainly feel nice! Don’t you think?
If your loved one has a fear of water or needs a quick clean-up, a Cleansing with No rinse body bath may be just what you’re looking for. It can be as relaxing as a bubble-bath for the loved one afraid of water.
With some soft music they may need a long nap.
And, you might enjoy one too!