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5 Tips for CNAs Bathing Patients with Alzheimers Disease

As an CNA it is important to try to understand why a person with Alzheimer may be behaving in ways you find difficult when bathing them, and learn how to avoid making them worse.  Bathing is often the most challenging activity for both the CNA  and the person with Alzheimers.

Certified nursing assistant that help clients with Alzheimer's take a bath or shower can present a number of challenges. Bathing or showing can promote anxiety and embarrassment for previously independent people.

Here are 5 tips when Bathing Clients with Alzheimer’s

Have All Necessary Items
Have all the necessary items at hand.  Certified nursing assistants can not leave the patient unattended to go get something. Not having all the necessary items and scrambling round may agitate the patient.

Explain the Procedure Step by Step
Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease may feel threatened or confused if they don’t understand what is happening and why.  As a CNA you will need to explain to the patient what is happening.  Using words such as getting cleaned up instead of showing can sometimes lessen the fear and distress. By speaking slowly and softly this can help calm the patient.

Don’t Rush
Restlessness and agitation can be caused by the CNA by rushing the patient. Let the patient get undressed at his or her own pace. Allow them to help as much as possible with the bath.  By helping with their bath the individual feels like they have more control on what is going on. Simple cues can be given such as here is a wash cloth to wash your face.

Some people with Alzheimer’s can become frightened by the sound and feel of running water.  Try turning the patient away from the water. Make sure that the shower room is heated and the water temperature is warm. 

Privacy is important and necessary no matter who you care for as a CNA.  Never allow the patient to be exposed longer then necessary.  Have them to get undressed just right before entering the shower or bath. 

Even though assistant with personal hygiene can become routine for the nurse aide, it is important to remain sensitive to the fact that someone with dementia or Alzheimer's disease may view things very differently.