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7 Tips For Caring For A Bedridden Patient

7 Tips For Caring For A Bedridden Patient
Shweta Chaubey

It goes without saying that bedriddenness is not a pleasant experience. However, bedridden patients can live healthy and happy lives with the right assistance, care, love, and support. Being bedbound, either temporarily or permanently, alters everything in their life. Therefore, one must be very gentle and cautious with people confined to bed.

A person may be bedridden because of many reasons. After a point, people are completely bedridden, confined to bed for their whole life, and start managing themselves independently 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, they 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, and respite caregivers, to name a few. The most common of all is the family caregiver. A family caregiver is a patient's family member who cares for bedridden patients 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 take care of a bedridden patient?

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 and 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 less time-consuming. 

Many family members became 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 are the first steps to feeling good about yourself. Personal hygiene is crucial for bedbound people too. But it might be more difficult for them than for normal people.

One of the greatest things you can do for any bedridden patient is to help them with their basic hygiene and grooming needs. These include:

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.

Some may need complete assistance in tasks as trivial as brushing their teeth. Many bedridden patients prefer oral hygiene products like oral care swabs, tongue depressors, suction toothbrushes, and more.

Changing clothes regularly is crucial to ensure that bacteria and pathogens do not cause infections in the patient's body.

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 brushing may seem strenuous 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 in keeping up their morale and self-esteem.

2. Prevent bedsores

Bedsores, widely known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, are injuries and lesions to the skin and other essential tissues due to excessive pressure on the skin for prolonged periods. Extensive sitting or sleeping stresses 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 get infected by pathogens and aggravate the chances of major complications that may be fatal. Although they are a serious concern, preventing pressure ulcers is quite easy.

Consider the following tips -

  • Reposition the person every few hours if they spend most of their day in bed.
  • Encourage partially bedridden patients to readjust themselves regularly.
  • Seek advice from a medical expert, doctor, or nurse for proper repositioning techniques.
  • Exercise caution when repositioning adults to avoid causing harm or injury.
  • Regularly check for the development of skin ulcers, especially on heels, tailbone, hips, and ankles.
  • Early treatment increases the chances of quick healing.

3. Change the diapers

Changing an adult diaper can be a challenging task for caregivers, but it is a necessary one. With proper preparation, you can make this task more manageable. Using a hospital bed can indeed make changing diapers easier and safer for both the caregiver and the individual.

How to change a diaper on a bedridden person?

To change diapers, you need -

  • Medical gloves (preferably disposable)
  • Fresh adult diaper
  • Trash bag
  • Washcloth or wipes
  • Perineal cream

Instructions To Change Adult Diapers

  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Put on medical gloves.
  • Adjust the bed's height and head position if possible.
  • Have the person lie on their back.
  • Undo the diaper tape and move them to the side.
  • Roll the person gently onto their side with the bed rail up.
  • Clean the perineal area with a wet cloth or wipe, front to back.
  • Check for any diaper rash or sores.
  • Apply skin barrier cream to protect the skin.
  • Let the skin dry before placing a new diaper.
  • Position the clean diaper comfortably and roll the person back.
  • Fasten the clean diaper and smooth out wrinkles.
  • Remove gloves and dispose of them.
  • Adjust the bed to its regular height.
  • Ensure the person is comfortable.
  • Clean your hands and put on new gloves if needed

4. Change bed linens frequently

As they say, little things matter. Something as trivial as changing bedsheets can make a huge difference. The bedding may get dirty after a few days. Given 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 diapers every 2-3 days.
  • Use freshly cleaned and laundered linens.
  • Discuss material preferences for bedsheets with your loved ones.
  • Ask about comfort preferences, like softness or warmth.
  • Occasionally replace blankets and comforters with fresh ones.

5. Ensure they are nourished

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 lot of time to plan their meals and consult their doctor or nurse. You can also consult a dietician if necessary. They help you understand what type of foods are the best for them at this point.

Additionally, they would also recommend some medical and nutritional supplements if required.

  • Provide a balanced diet and monitor nutrients and calories for their health.
  • Cater to their eating preferences – some prefer frequent small snacks, while others prefer full meals at specific times.
  • Ensure they stay hydrated with non-sugary, healthy drinks.
  • Create a chart or schedule and consult doctors if you notice unusual health changes after eating certain foods.

A mindful selection of vegetables and fruits is the key. 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. Generally, medical professionals help the patient with their food.

6. Keep the 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 the most frequented place of all.

Keep their room clean and comfortable for them. You should do some other things 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 reach of the bed to make everything more accessible. 
  • Open the windows often to allow fresh air to come inside. 
  • During the rest hours, ensure 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 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 good emotional health.

  • Some treatments can greatly affect a patient's physical and mental well-being, such as hip replacement surgery taking two to four weeks for recovery.
  • Patients may feel drained, low, and dependent during this time, potentially experiencing anxiety.
  • Caregivers should approach these situations with empathy and compassion.
  • Encourage open sharing of feelings from both sides.
  • Be patient, as activities may take longer and require more energy.
  • Avoid rushing, which can lead to frustration.
  • Recognize your own limits and take breaks to prevent over-exhaustion.

Reach Out for Help If Needed

A caregiver does not possess any medical footing when 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 extra support and purchase bedridden patient care supplies 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 the long run.

At HPFY, we believe in providing the best in health and wellness to people. You can choose from the best health products for bedridden patients at exclusive discounts.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed 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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