3 Care Tips for Bedridden Loved Ones
Caring for a loved one who is bedridden can be a difficult thing to do. Their body is at risk of sores and improper hygiene. Your own body is at risk of strains and pains.
Keep reading for three tips to help care for someone who is bedridden.
#1 Physical Repositioning & Exercise
Exercise can be difficult with a bedridden patient. They may only be able to exercise for short periods of time or are completely immobile. However, even if they are unable to move, there are ways you can help your loved one get movement. Some light exercise may help:
- Reduce the severity of muscle atrophy (the wasting away of muscles).
- Positive impact on your patient’s mental health.
You’ll want to make sure you reposition your loved one frequently throughout the day. Bedridden patients will often get bed sores (also known as pressure ulcers).
We recommend you get a consultation from your loved one’s doctor and ask for physical therapist recommendations before starting a physical movement routine.
PRO TIP: There may be times when you need to shift your loved one up and down the bed. This can be very straining on a caregiver’s body. Watch this video from the Continuing Care Safety Association to learn how to shift your loved one SAFELY.
#2 Sheet Quality Matters
Your loved one’s bed should be comfortable and clean as much as possible. The frequency of washing sheets will vary based on your loved one’s medical conditions. If your patient frequently soils the bed with feces, urine, or sweat, you should change their bedding regularly. Your loved one’s skin should not be in contact with feces or urine for long periods of time, so make sure to swap the sheets after an incident. However, if the patient’s bed stays relatively clean, you can consider changing the sheets every few days or once per week.
We recommend having multiple sets of sheets clean & ready to go. You should also consider investing in some bedding accessories, like a mattress protector or incontinence pads: that will make life easier.
PRO TIP: You will need to roll your loved one to one side of the bed while changing their sheets. But be careful; this is a common way that some caregivers injure themselves! Watch this video from the Continuing Care Safety Association to learn how to properly roll a patient for BOTH people’s safety.
#3 Daily, Weekly & Monthly Hygiene Your loved one deserves to feel clean and well-groomed. Establishing a hygiene routine is extremely important so that they can feel as comfortable as possible. Small details, like clipping fingernails, can be easy to forget without establishing a routine. Work with your loved one to make a schedule that works. Here are some basic rules of thumb:
- Brush teeth. Most dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes twice per day. However, this can be difficult if your loved one uses a breathing machine, like a BiPap. Find a length of time and frequency that works for them.
- Wash body & face. You will likely need to give your loved one a sponge bath if they’re bedridden. Prioritize doing this every day with a warm bucket of water, gentle soap, and a combination of face cloths and towels.
- Brush hair. This really depends on the length of your loved one’s hair, but you should brush their hair at least once a day. For patients with longer hair, consider a ponytail or braid to keep it from knotting too much.
- Wash hair. Usually, we recommend washing your hair every 2-3 days. Washing hair in a bed is tricky. Make sure you remove pillows, lay down towels, and only use small amounts of water.
- Trim fingernails and toenails. Nails grow very slowly and require a trim every few weeks (usually over a month). Make sure you don’t forget to do this important hygiene step by setting a reminder.
Need help? Nurses on Demand will give your loved one the care they deserve. Reach out today to ask for help.