General Question

kneesox's avatar

How often do hospital patients get bathed?

Asked by kneesox (4227points) 1 month ago

Both in “normal” (pre-Covid) times and now?

I was in the hospital once for surgery. I did get some sponge baths. But I was young and my hair was oily, ugh. I had to ask several times to get my hair washed, and it took a week to get help with it.

How much of a priority does bathing get now when so many people are hospitalized, especially when they’re hooked up to a hundred devices? What happens?

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18 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

In 1977 I was in the hospital for five days after a fall off a cliff resulted in surgery to repair a broken leg. I did not get any cleanup other than the prep for surgery.

In 2002 I had appendicitis and was hospitalized for four nights, never got a sponge bath, but was given a wet wash cloth to wash myself before they changed the bdding after two days.

In May of this year, I was in the hospital for 36 hours. I was admitted at midight; at four in the afternoon an LVN came by and gave me a full “sponge bath” with a wash cloth. It felt great.

Brian1946's avatar

In 1955, I was 8 years old. It was then that I was hit by a car while jay running across Sunset Blvd, in Hollywood.

I sustained a hairline pelvic fracture, and was hospitalized for about a week. I don’t remember getting any kind of bath.

Zaku's avatar

In one 2021 experience, sponge/towel thing after 2–3 days. There was no reason why the frequency of that would change unless they forgot or were out of those supplies. It might depend on the number of devices, but nurses are good at getting around most attachments.

filmfann's avatar

I had heart surgery. I was in the hospital for 7 days and nights. Never got a wash.

janbb's avatar

When I was in a private pay rehab center two years ago, I got two full showers during the week. I recall a visiting nurse telling after I was home that they don’t regularly povide baths or showers in the hospital any more.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

In 2016 I was in the hospital for four days. On day three, my regular nurse “asked” if I wanted a shower, but I was sure she was subtly telling me I smelled and needed cleaning.

Caravanfan's avatar

The best way to answer this is “it depends”. If someone is ambulatory they may get bathed as often as they want to. If someone is in the ICU then it’s when they can. There also are protocols. If you’re really curious I can find out for you but will take awhile as I’m not working this week.

Patty_Melt's avatar

It depends on a variety of things. After surgery in 1982 I got a sponge bath the next day. Later, I said something to a nurse taking my vitals. I was not scheduled for a bath, and she didn’t seem to know the guy I was talking about.

A collection of hospital stays in the past five years, after the second day they provided me with packets of bath wipes so I could use them at my preference.

After giving birth, once I got a sitz bath, another one I was provided something that looked like a curling wand, but it had holes and warm water came out in gentle spray so I could clean the stitches area without pain.

Lightlyseared's avatar

For me (nurse with 20 years experience).. if you have capacity then this is at your own discretion. If you want every day that’s what you will get.

However I will encourage (and assist you) to use the bath / shower rather than “sponge bath” as a) it’s more effective and b) getting out of bed and moving about is good for you.

Further to @Caravanfans answer the ICU’s I have worked at bathed patients every day as part of regular repositioning of the patient.

gondwanalon's avatar

In 2013 I was in the hospital for a week after heart surgery and then back in the hospital for a week and a half that year for pulmonary embolism. Then back in the hospital for 4 days for another heart surgery. At no time did anyone even mention a bath or sponge bath. As soon as I was able I did bird baths.

janbb's avatar

So – the conclusion seems to be that it varies from when the patient wants to never depending on staffing and hospital policies.

jca2's avatar

I was in the hospital for almost a month with Guillain Barre Syndrome, and at that time, I was able to wash myself, if someone wheeled me into the large shower room. I would ask for a shower every few days. I didn’t see many people getting showers. Luckily, it was an informal system and luckily, I was able to advocate for myself.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We had to practically BEG the staff to clean my Dad’s wife when she was in the hospital.

YARNLADY's avatar

When I was in the hospital for a week last year, I didn’t even think about a bath or shower, and neither did anyone else.

omtatsat's avatar

Where I worked it was more or less daily for the people who could not leave the bed.

jca2's avatar

My assumption was this question meant actually to have a bath or shower, not a bed bath. That’s how I answered it.

omtatsat's avatar

We had showers or a bed bath for those who could not leave the bed or could not use a shower

kneesox's avatar

@jca2, no, actually by “get bathed” I meant to imply that someone was bathing them or helping them bathe. If they can do it themselves, then I presume it’s as often as they want or feel up to it.

So what I was really asking is, right now with covid and all, how long patients are typically left to lie around without getting cleaned up unless they’re able to do it themselves.

Details said: How much of a priority does bathing get now when so many people are hospitalized, especially when they’re hooked up to a hundred devices? What happens?

And how is that different from pre-covid “normal”?

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