Principles of Supporting an Individual to Maintain Personal Hygiene

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LD 206 – Principles of supporting an individual to maintain personal hygiene Most people will maintain personal hygiene except in illness, substance abuse, or dementia. Dementia can cause a change in personal hygiene habits. People may forget to wash or change their clothes, or they may forget how to keep clean. Carers may find these stressful but different strategies can help. A person with dementia may need help with going to the toilet, getting dressed, brushing their teeth and grooming hair and nails. It is quite common for people with dementia to forget about, or lose interest in, personal hygiene. They may neglect basic activities such as bathing and changing their clothes. This can be perplexing and upsetting for a carer. Understanding the cause can help you decide which strategies may be helpful when caring for a person with dementia. There are a number of things you can try to help the person manage their hygiene. Try to work out ways of coping without argument or confrontation. Approaching the person with reassurance and patience can help overcome obstacles. Washing and dressing are intimate, private activities. Many people have never undressed in front of others and may be embarrassed or humiliated by their need for assistance. They may feel particularly embarrassed if they are incontinent and may refuse to bathe or change their clothes to try to disguise the problem. We should pull down blinds or close curtains and doors to create a feeling of privacy, choose the best time of the day for bathing. Try to match the person’s bathing routine before the onset of the disease, or consider the time of day when the person is most relaxed and the type of bathing – bath, shower, sponge bath – with which they are familiar. HSC2013 – Support care plan activities The interaction with the patient is paramount to have any effect. While taking any

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