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7 Tips on How to Care for a Bedridden Patient

7 Tips on How to Care for a Bedridden Patient
Shweta Chaubey

Bedridden patients find it exceedingly inconvenient to carry out day-to-day chores. They feel a dire need to be assisted, and rightly so, being bed-ridden not a pleasant experience. However, with the right kind of assistance, care, love, and support, they can live a healthy and happy lifestyle like all of us. Being bed-bound, either temporarily or permanently, alters everything in their life. Therefore, one needs to be very gentle and cautious with people confined to bed.

A person may be bed-ridden because of many reasons. After a point, people completely bedridden meaning confined to bed for their whole life, start managing themselves on their own with various aids and gadgets. For instance, a person with congenital immobility issues learns to manage themselves gradually with the help of mobility aids and rehabilitation therapies. However, a child or even a full-grown adult may need a caregiver for a few days, weeks, months, or perhaps years, till they are sick in bed.

Who is a Caregiver?

A Caregiver, aka caretaker, is a person willing to provide care for a patient. There are various kinds of caregivers certified to provide specific care, such as independent caregivers, family caregivers, respite caregivers, to name a few. The most common of all is the family caregiver. A family caregiver is a family member of the patient that cares for them without pay. Unlike a certified nurse, caregivers help the patient with day-to-day activities like bathing, strolling through the park, eating, or using the toilet. Caregivers do not carry out medical care. They are present alongside the patient in an emotional sense. They help the patient feel positive and supported.

How to Care for a Bedridden Elderly Person?

For those providing patient care to bedridden elderly family members, it may mean assisting them in almost every big and small day-to-day activity as well as personal hygiene. It is as strenuous as it gets; however, a little reliable information, due diligence, and some tips and tricks can make the process a less consuming one. Many family members turned caregivers to get entangled in questions like how and what they should do to help their loved ones.

Here are seven things one can do to be helpful to your bedridden family member and aid in their recovery.

1. Promote Grooming and Good Hygiene

Good Hygiene and grooming is the first step to feel good about yourself. Personal Hygiene is crucial for bedbound people too. But it might be a tad bit more difficult for them than a normal person. One of the greatest things you can do for any bedridden patient is to help them with their basic hygiene and grooming needs are fulfilled. Proper grooming and hygiene routine include:

  • Bathing – Many people can take a bath independently with minimal assistance. Howbeit, others may need several bath safety aids along with human service. Bed baths are considered a great idea for those completely bedbound patients.
  • Dental and oral care – Some may need complete assistance in tasks as trivial as brushing their teeth. Many bedridden patients prefer to use oral hygiene products like Oral Care Swabs, Tongue Depressors, Suction Toothbrushes, and more.
  • Clothing – Changing their clothes on an everyday basis is crucial to make certain that bacteria and pathogens do not cause infections to the patient's body.
  • Nail Care– The healing process may be irritating and itchy. Long fingers and toenails lead to involuntary scratches and wounds. They are also prone to the development of infections. Thus, trimming nails and taking good care of their nails is essential.
  • Hair Grooming – Hair brushing may seem a strenuous task for a birdstrike person. Long and unkempt hair is likely to lead to the development of head lice, bedbugs, and many other parasites. Maintenance of hair, mustaches, and beards trimmed, brushed, and clean is a good way to solve these problems and nip them in the bud.

They say, looking good helps one feel good. It seems very true. Apart from keeping bedridden people healthy, these things will aid your loved ones keep up their morale and self-esteem.

2. Avert Bedsores

Bedsores, widely known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, are injuries and lesions to the skin and other essential tissues due to the excessive pressure on the skin for prolonged periods. The extensive sitting or sleeping puts stress on several body parts such as the hips, thighs, and legs, causing the skin to rupture. The breakdown thus results in ulcers or sores that are painful and extremely uncomfortable. In some graver cases, bedsores are infected by pathogens and aggravate the chances of major complications that may be fatal.

Although they are a serious concern, the prevention of pressure ulcers is quite easy. Consider using the below-mentioned tips:

  • In case the person sick in bed spends large portions of their day in bed, reposition them after every few hours. Those partially bedridden patients must be encouraged to readjust themselves often.
  • Consult a medical expert, your doctor, or a nurse to understand the best plausible ways to reposition the patient. 
  • Readjusting a full-grown adult may be a difficult task. You do not want to hurt or injure them in the process. Be extra cautious and frequently check for the development of skin ulcers. 
  • The most common sites for bedsores are the heels, tailbone, hips, and ankles. The sooner a sore is found, the quicker the healing becomes.

3. Changing Adult Diapers

Changing an adult's diapers is probably the most unconformable job as a caregiver. Howbeit, doing so is a necessity. With the right preparations, you can this arduous task an easier one.

The situation is awkward for both, the patient as well as the caregiver. Make things seem normal to them. It is obvious that the patient is not mobile enough, therefore, you may need some techniques to do the job without injuring them. Changing diapers becomes easier and safer if you are using a hospital bed.

To change diapers, you require -

How to change a diaper?

  • Rinse and pat dry your hands thoroughly. Put on the medical gloves. 
  • If it's an adjustable bed, adjust its height to suit the process (slightly lower than your hips). Subsequently, adjust the head of the bed as far down as the patient can bear. 
  • Ask the patient to lay on their back while you unfasten tapes and straps of the diaper. Tuck it to the farthest side, under the person's hip. 
  • Place a hand on the patient's hip and another on their shoulder, roll them from your side to theirs. Be aware, the side rails must be up on the far side to avoid moving the patient out of bed. 
  • If there is somebody you can ask for help to, direct them to keep the patient firmly in place while you clean their perineal area. 
  • Time to pull out the diaper tucked under the patient's hip. Roll the diaper towards you while pulling to avoid spilling the mess. Throw the used diaper in a trash bag. 
  • Use a washcloth or a wipe, premoistened with a skin cleanser, and thoroughly cleanse the perineal area. Remember to do so in a front-to-back motion. Do not hard press or apply force while cleansing. You may want to roll the patient onto their side. Once done, put the used wipes into a trash bag. 
  • Look out for diaper rash or pressure ulcers. Check them daily to see if they are developing any of those. Apply an ample amount of skin barrier cream. It keeps the skin protected and moist. Let the skin dry completely before rolling the new diaper under them. 
  • Now place the diaper comfortably and roll the patient toward your side. Pull out the diaper tucked beneath them and fasten it. Smoothen the wrinkles if any. 
  • After doing the above-mentioned steps, remove your gloves and throw them into the trash bag. Adjust the bed at its usual height. Make the patient comfortable in bed.
  • Then, wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer, and then put on new gloves if required.

4. Change Bed Linens Frequently

As they say, little things matter, something as trivial as changing bedsheets every so often can make a huge difference. The bedding may get dirty after a few days. Given that the patient spends most of their time in bed, it is essential to keep it clean.

Things to keep in mind while changing bed linens:

  • Change them as often as after every 2-3 days. 
  • The new set of linens are fresh. They must be properly cleaned and laundered. 
  • The material of the bedsheets matters a lot; therefore, it is better to talk to your loved ones about their preferences. Ask them some usual questions, for instance, whether the sheets are soft enough for them? Do they want something more delicate? Or do they prefer a warmer sheet? 
  • Blankets and comforters are equally important. You may not require to change and wash them as frequently as the bedsheets but replace them with fresh ones every once in a while, is important.

5. Good Nutrition

Needlessly, the importance of healthy balanced meals is all well-known to us. A person recovering from some surgery is required to eat as much healthy food as possible. Take a great deal of time to plan their meals, consult their doctor or nurse. You can also consult a dietician if need be. They would help you understand what type of foods are the best for them at this point. Additionally, they would also recommend some medical nutritional supplements if required.

  • Ensure they eat a balanced diet, keeping track of nutrients and calories to ensure your loved one remains healthy. 
  • Observe their needs and preferences and cater accordingly. Some people like to take small portions of snacks throughout the day. At the same time, some prefer to have full-fledged meals at certain hours of the day. 
  • Keep them hydrated at all times. Non-sugary healthy drinks are always a good idea. 
  • Design a chart or schedule and ask your doctors if you notice something unusual in their health or habits after eating a specific food.

A mindful selection of vegetables and fruits is the key. Mostly, a specific vegetable or fruit may not suit the patient during their treatment, owing to the heavy doses of medicines. Thus, understanding which ones are the best for your loved one is essential. Subsequently, not to put the caregiver under the pressure of knowing everything about nutrition, it is a usual practice amongst medical professionals to help the patient with their food.

6. Keep Environment Positive and Happy

The surroundings of the patient make a huge difference. It aids their healing process. Ask them often if they feel uncomfortable. Their room is perhaps the most frequented place of all. Keep their room clean and comfortable for them. Here are some other things you may want to do to keep them upbeat.

  • Keep the room well-lit. A good supply of sunlight will keep your loved one cheerful. 
  • Keep the way to the bathroom clear and clutterless. 
  • Position the bed so that the nightstand is within their reach from the bed to make everything more accessible. 
  • Open the windows often to allow fresh air to come inside. 
  • During the rest hours, make sure there are minimum distractions in the room. After all, sound sleep is quintessential for good health.

7. Practice Patience and Empathy

At times caring for a loved one becomes emotionally draining, and you feel exhausted. In such a scenario, the caregiver often trips themselves into the guilt of not doing enough. Practice patience and empathy not just towards your loved one but yourself too. Keep yourself happy and upbeat to cheer them up. After a certain period, your emotions seem to be all over the place. The best thing to do is not to panic or feel sad about it. Here are a few things you can do to ensure both of your good emotional health.

  • Some treatments take a toll on the patient's physical and mental health to a great extent. A person after a hip replacement surgery may take a good two to four weeks. During those weeks, they may often feel drained and low. Lack of independence, as it becomes difficult after an ostomy or hip surgery to perform basic activities for quite some time, may make them feel like a burden. Anxiety may also creep into their lives, and as a caregiver, you should be willing and well-equipped to tackle such situations with utmost empathy and compassion. 
  • Give them enough room to share their feelings with you. Similarly, reach out and communicate your thoughts and feelings with them too. 
  • Expect things to take a little longer than usual. Day-to-day activities will need more energy from both of you. Avoid any rush as it might make your loved one feel frustrated. 
  • Understand your limits and cut yourself some slack. Take small breaks for yourself, and do not over-exhaust yourself.

8. Reach Out for Help If Need Be

A caregiver does not possess any medical footing when it comes to providing medical help to the patient. You will require assistance to tackle everyday challenges. Seek help whenever facing a dilemma. You may also want to hire a nurse for some extra help and purchase some bedridden patient care equipment for better care and treatment. However, it depends on the gravity of the situation. Taking care of your loved ones is enriching and satisfying in many ways. It is a noble deed to help a person in dire times like these. Being attentive to their needs and helping to prevent or reduce pain will aid the person in long run.

At HPFY, we believe in providing the best in health and wellness to people. You can choose from a wide range of the best health products for bedridden patients, at amazing prices and discounts.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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