Assisting clients with hygiene after Personal Support Worker (PSW) training is a critical part of the daily tasks in this role. However, it can be one of the most challenging aspects of the job. This is because the skin is sensitive and easily aggravated, which means extra care and empathy are needed.
At Medix College, we offer quality training in mental health issues, abuse and neglect, as well as brain injuries, health conditions, body systems, and more through our Personal Support Worker training program. This training will help you to ensure your client is always comfortable, clean, and dignified. Remember, your clients will typically need extra attention and the safest care. Continue reading to learn three best practices for assisting clients with hygiene when you become a Personal Support Worker.
1. Always Remember That Safety Comes First
Injuries and illnesses can cause patients to lose sensation or have limited mobility or control over their bodies. This can make hygiene challenging, and clients may need help with things that many people take for granted, like putting on a shirt or taking a shower.
If a patient has limited mobility, they likely need help with transfers to and from the toilet and tub. It’s important to check your organization’s policies and practices to see what is recommended. If you have any doubts or concerns, then someone else should assist.
Individuals with Personal Support Worker training know it’s important to ensure your clients feel safe and comfortable at all times. This can be achieved by practicing open communication with your client about their preferences and limitations. You’ll also want to make sure their room is safe by keeping the floors dry to avoid slipping, installing non-skid mats in the shower or bathtub, and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature. If available, a movable shower head with a hose is especially helpful for patients who need assistance rinsing themselves.
2. How To Assist Patients with Bathing and Nail Care
PSWs that have completed their training know that before bringing the client to bathe, it’s important to gather all the things they will need first, such as a towel, loofah, soaps, shampoos, etc. Communicate with your client about their preferences. For example, some people like to enter the bath before it’s full of water. If your patient prefers that, regulate the water temperature to ensure it’s not too hot and not too cold.
Always assume modesty is a concern and cover your client’s sensitive areas. Assist in washing as needed, being sure to communicate what you need to do before helping the client. After their bath, make your client feels safe by guiding them out of the shower/tub with a towel ready to cover them up. This method has two purposes. First, if they slip, you’re ready with a towel to catch them. And second, having a towel ready will help keep their modesty covered and keep them warm.
Next, look at the client’s nails. A good PSW knows that nail beds can tell us a lot about a person’s health. If your client has diabetes, for example, you will want to be aware of every cut or scratch to be able to catch an infection early on. Watch for signs of irritation or infection. Note and report any swelling, thick or brittle nails, changes in nail texture, colour, exquisite tenderness, or foot ulcers. Those holding a Personal Support Worker diploma know to check their fingers and toenails often!
3. Be Respectful in Your Personal Support Worker Career
It’s important to remember having help with personal hygiene can be uncomfortable or embarrassing for some. Effectively trained PSWs know to be respectful and conscious of their client’s feelings. Remember to be sensitive to each situation and always approach with your client’s dignity and comfort at top of your mind. Ask how they would prefer to be helped and allow them as much independence as you think is safe. You can also re-enforce to your client that you won’t let them get hurt and you intend to help.
In our PSW Foundations course, students learn concepts of lifestyle, needs, culture, beliefs/values, independence, interdependence, autonomy, and more. Through this course, students will fully understand their variety of clients and how to be respectful of their needs.
Clients should receive continuous monitoring for proper hygiene. With the Medix PSW program, students will learn all the best practices for assisting patients with personal hygiene. Patient safety, bathing and nail care, as well as being respectful, are all equally important and will be second nature to an experienced PSW.
This career is incredibly rewarding since taking care of vulnerable people is a really important task, and you are, no doubt, following this path because you know that it feels good to help those who need it!
Are you ready to start your Personal Support Worker career?
Contact Medix College to learn more about our program.