10 Tips for Bathing the Uncooperative Resident

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Residents who are not willing to cooperate with caregivers during a bath can pose numerous safety challenges to themselves and the caregiver. Here are 10 tips that can make the bathing experience more comfortable for the resident and easier for the caregiver.

  1. Caregivers should give a bath in private while ensuring that the resident stays warm and covered. This will cause the resident to feel comfortable and will cooperate with the caregiver.
  2. Developing a trusting relationship between the resident and caregiver is vital, therefore consistently assigning the same caregiver to the resident will enhance the bathing experience.
  3. Clear communication and moving slowly will provide assurance to the resident that you are not trying to harm them.
  4. Inquiring about the resident’s bathing preferences to personalize the experience will also make the resident feel more comfortable.
  5. Using different bathing techniques to meet the resident’s needs is also very important.
  6. Creating a home like experience in the bathroom will also encourage the resident to participate during the bathing process.
  7. Creating a “salon” like experience by washing the hair separately while the resident is fully clothed is also recommended. This will cause the individual to feel less threatened.
  8. Forced bathing does not work; therefore it is wise to defer the bath timing if the resident is feeling uncomfortable. Caregivers should develop procedures regarding resident bathing and share them with the resident’s family.
  9. The word bath can cause a negative effect on certain residents. Inviting the resident for a “shower” or “wash up” sounds less threatening.
  10. The bathing process will move quickly without or little bad experiences if it is individualized and person centered. This will save time and the bathing experience will be pleasurable for the resident.
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