How do I go about this?

edwinnaOctober 27, 2005

Hi everyone,

Not sure if any of you will remember or not, but I posted a while back about a co-worker suffering from liver disease.

She's at the end stage now and all she wants is a bath and to have her hair washed. Her family hasn't been very supportive.

Home health is due to start but in the meantime she really wants to be clean.

I'd like to do this for her. I've never done this for anyone before. So, I guess what I'm asking is what do I do? Sponge bath? Try to get her in the tub? Wash her hair in bed? She's very frail and I don't want her to fall if we try to get her in the tub. Also, should I wear gloves? Are there bath products that would be easy on her paper thin skin?

Heck, I'm just a co-worker and friend. I don't want to embarrass her either.

Sorry to be so awkward with this post; it's an awkward situation. Any suggestions on how to go about this would be most appreciated.

Thank you!


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Some nice lavender or if she has a fav scent shower/bath gel. Preheat the bathroom & have a robe & towels nice & roasty toasty warm too. For modesty sake have her keep on a pair of panties. A telephone shower will work for hair washing & shower/bath, a shower chair makes all of this easier on you & her cause she might tire quickly.

Sense of humour will help too.. You're a special angel to want to do this for her & she will greatly appreciate this.

BTW it's not awakward post at all..

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 9:04AM
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Ask around in your group of friends. There may be someone that has worked as a nurse or aid who could help you out for a hour or so. Getting her in and out of the tub could be a problem, but it may be the best and easiest way of washing her hair and making her feel really clean. Since she is so fragile and frail, both of you would be a lot safer if you had someone to help.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 9:32AM
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A shower bench is nice, esp. if there is a handheld shower wand. That way she can linger under the water without getting worn out. Bless you for assisting her with this. It's nice to feel pampered. (or at least feel "like yourself" again.) Don't forget her favorite lotion for after:)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 3:19PM
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Her Dr. can recommend a home care nurse to help out. It is very important you know how to handle a person. Too much can happend, and believe me, if she is hurt, her relatives could and probably will sue, no matter now nice they seem.
Cotact the Visiting Nurse assoction or hospice care for help.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 4:36PM
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Thank you for the advice and great suggestions. Marie, your point is well taken. It's sad that these days people have to consider the possibility of a lawsuit when all they are trying to do is help.

Her doctor has been asked to prescribe home health care; we're just waiting for it to begin. In the meantime, perhaps it would be prudent to stick to a sponge bath, wash her hair in bed as best we can and rub her down with a nice, soothing scented lotion.

Thank you everyone for your responses. Your input and ideas really did help.



    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 1:39AM
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Edwinna, what a great friend you are! Just you thinking of wanting to help out makes me want to cry (good tears!!). My Al cannot get in and out of the tub, so he sponge baths. Also, i wash his hair in the kitchen sink (wheelchair pushed up to the sink, botton cupboard doors open, hand held telephone srayer attached to the taps, but i don't know where you live, but we had a mobile hair dresser come to the house and wash his hair and cut it, she washed his hair in bed, they have experience coming into the hospital as well, the cost was about 20.00, and so nice that he didn't have to get out of bed (this was about 2 weeks of being at home after he had his leg amputated) so i know they were gentle. Also Marie, is right people will sue for the stupidest reasons, right now we are going through this one -- Al's Uncle Paul passed away, we were offered his electric wheelchair, nice, you bed, but... we must get a letter from a facilitator saying that this wheelchair is appropriate (good idea) and that it is safe for him and others around him --cost of this letter is about 200.00!!! needless to say the estate can have the wheelchair, i'm too tired to do all this, Al even says it's not worth it! Again, i am impressed with you being a true friend! debbie

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 10:38AM
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What a kind soul you are...I'm sure there is a place in heaven for you...

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 1:10PM
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if she is the end stage she needs HOSPICE care (which is better than home health care) - the Dr. will need to agree to it.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 7:49PM
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Edwinna, so nice of you to help your friend. This is my first post on this forum, but thought you might be able to use this info. Since you have decided on a sponge bath, maybe you would like to consider those packages of wipes that contain a soap that doesn't have to be rinsed off. I can't think of the name, but they use them sometimes in the hospital. You put them in the microwave to heat them. They sell them at some drug stores and the med supply place. It doesn't feel as good as a shower, but they are soothing. I know someone that can't get in and out of the tub and she uses the non-perfumed baby wipes. Visiting nurses have those plastic things to use to wash hair in bed, but you have to make sure they are experienced in using them, or it creates a *horrible* mess. If she can make it to the bathroom sink, you can put a chair in front of it for her to sit on so she doesn't become too tired. Have lots of towels handy, but you *can* make it work. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 10:20PM
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for all the wonderful advice and kind words. Here's an update on my friend and co-worker:

btw...want you all to know that she has many friends and co-workers who've been doing what they can to help. I just happen to be here posting about it.

She and I talked about the bathing. At first she was receptive but then she seemed to get uncomfortable with the idea of someone outside the family helping her with something so personal. This led to some serious talks with her daughter who has finally stepped up to the plate and is now helping her with the bathing issue. There have been some tense moments, and I suppose everyone deals with these things in their own way but...well, you know how that goes sometimes.

The good news is that as of today Home Health will be helping her out 20 hours a week. The disability that several people at work have helped her apply for has started so no more stressing about how to pay the bills. I should say less stress, cuz it's not a lot of money but better than none.

The people at work have put together a fund raiser...raffling off a goodie basket and a handmade quilt. So far, we've sold $500 worth of tickets. We've been helping with groceries and paying the utilities but there is just so much individuals can do. The fund raiser reaches those who would like to help, but don't know how or what to do.

As far as hospice goes...that's what we'd really like to get going for her, but around these parts the family has to request it and so far they haven't done so. We keep suggesting it. Hospice is ready to step in as soon as they get the green light.

This lady is a good soul who has spent her entire life helping's the least the community can do to help her in her time of need. It's just a shame that her family has to be prodded to do the right thing. However, it looks like we're 'guilting' them into it one tiny step at a time.

Thank you so much for all the folks are wonderful.


edwinna (who rambled a bit)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 1:45AM
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I am in Texas and the patient can ask for hospice - perhaps her Dr. can initiate hospice? Here we get hospice care for my Mom who is still at home - not in a nursing home simply means she gets a LOT more care than 'home health' care provided (which she had for years). She has been with hospice (home) health care for just over one year. Carolyn

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 9:03PM
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