Care Guides for Survivors

Personal Hygiene and Care

Post on 03/07/16

Basin (small)

Maintaining personal hygiene is one of the many things we do naturally everyday. But some Survivors may find it challenging due to their disability.

Maintaining personal hygiene gives the patient a feeling of well-being and in some ways helps to boost the patient’s self-esteem. It also decreases the risk of infection. Here are some tips on how you can manage the personal care and hygiene of the stroke patient.


Skin

  • Bathe or sponge with soap and water using a washcloth. This helps to remove sweat and organisms (germs) that cause skin irritation and unpleasant smells
  • Dry skin properly, with special attention to skin folds and genital area •
  • Apply moisturising lotion (optional) to keep skin soft and supple so as to reduce friction between adjacent skin surfaces
  • Do not use talcum powder as this may give rise to skin irritation and infection
  • Do not apply talcum powder or lotion to the genitalia if a urinary catheter is in place
  • Use urosheath to keep incontinent male patients clean and dry •
  • Do not let skin remain wet, as this gives rise to sores and skin infections •
  • Apply water barrier cream to protect the skin around buttock/sacrum to prevent formation of sores and skin infections

Hair

  • Hair should be kept clean through regular washing, combing and brushing •
  • Short hair is easier to care for
  • Do frequent checks on the patient’s hair to look for head lice and dandruff

Eyes

  • Clean and remove eye dirt gently
  • Clean the eyes gently with moist cotton wool
  • Clean the dirt off the eyelashes gently
  • If eyes are not kept clean, the patient may develop eye irritation, infections and further complications
  • Do not put too much pressure on the eyes
  • Put some eyedrops to lubricate the cornea e.g. in comatose and drowsy patients 

Nose

  • Remove secretions using cotton buds if nostrils are clogged up with secretions
  • Clean the nostrils in a rotary movement
  • Do not put too much pressure on the nose
  • Make sure that the cotton has not been pushed too far into the nostrils
  • If the patient is on tube feeding, check that the adhesive tape securing the feeding tube is clean and intact. Change the adhesive tape when it becomes soiled with secretions or as and when needed

Oral Care

Dental (small)

  • Refresh mouth frequently by gargling with mouthwash such as water, salt water or commercial mouthwashes
  • For patients who are not able to gargle, clean the mouth with cotton squares dipped in mouthwash or salt water, wrapped around the finger
  • When cleaning the teeth or dental caries, beware of loose teeth. If present, a dental appointment is necessary
  • Keep the mouth clean to reduce oral infections
  • Apply white Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to the tongue and lips to prevent drying and cracking which may give rise to ulcer formation

Care of Dentures

  • Remove and clean dentures with a toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Dentures should not be worn by unconscious, drowsy or confused patients
  • Avoid ill-fitting dentures as they may give rise to mouth ulcers

Nails

  • Keep nails short as dirt particles collect easily beneath them
  • Trim them frequently
  • Clean nail beds with moist cotton

Summary

Maintaining personal hygiene is important as it gives the stroke patient a feeling of well-being, helps boost his self-esteem and decreases the risk of infection.

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