Article - Creating a Spa Environment At Home
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Taking a refreshing shower or a soothing bath is an activity many of us look forward to. It is an opportunity to relax the body and renew the spirit. But for someone who can no longer handle the task of bathing on their own, it can be a dreaded chore. The simple act of taking a bath, which they have been doing by themselves since childhood, can only be accomplished with the help of another person.
Bathing is a very intimate activity, making the shared responsibility difficult for both the caregiver and the care receiver. To the care receiver it can feel like an invasion of privacy and loss of independence, leading to emotional battles around bath time. To the caregiver, the physical maneuvering and the potential safety hazards make the challenge even greater.
So how does a caregiver maintain the bather's dignity and safety while still making the bath a pleasant experience? The staff at Dynamic Living looked to what professionals do at a spa, where guests pay hundreds of dollars to be pampered, cared for and bathed.
The staff at a spa prepare by arranging a soothing environment:
All the bathing essentials are arranged within reach of the staff, including soap, shampoo, washcloths, towels, bathrobe and slippers.
The lights are soft. Sometimes candles are placed around the room.
Soothing music or nature sounds play in the background.
There might be potpourri on the counter or some scented bath oil added to the water. Some scents, like lavender, have a calming and relaxing effect on many people.
The room is warm and free from drafts.
At the spa, the task of bathing is often split into different segments:
The hands are given special treatment with a massage, cuticle treatment and manicure.
A pedicure may include a relaxing foot massage or special foot scrub.
Mini facial's are performed with special soaps, lotions and cloths.
Hair is washed and styled.
A bath includes a nice long soak and soaps or oils are used that moisturize the skin.
A full body massage is given to drive away built up tension.
Splitting the bathing regimen can also be adopted at home to make the overall task of bathing less of a strain. For example, special attention to the feet one afternoon can feel luxurious, rather than squeezing foot care into one long, exhausting event. Some care recipients might even like the idea of 'appointments' for these 'special services', giving them some sense of control and a feeling of being pampered.
Just like the staff at a spa, the bather and caregiver need to discuss what the bather likes and doesn't like. Some people don't like or are afraid of having their head sprayed with water. Some prefer to step into a filled tub, while others prefer the tub to be filled once they are seated. Discussing these preferences before getting started can prevent difficult moments during the process.
There are some additional considerations for bathing in a homecare environment:
In order to accommodate physical challenges and avoid injury to the caregiver, you need to discuss the best way to transfer to the shower or tub. Determine the smoothest transitions throughout the process of disrobing, moving into the bath, bathing, moving out and drying off. Experiment with different techniques each bath time until you reach a sequence that works for both of you. Consider back saving tools, like bath transfer benches, bath lifts and handheld showers.
Think about the timing of the activity. Is it best to do first thing in the morning when energy is highest or later in the day after administering appropriate pain medication?
If transferring into the bathroom is too much of a struggle but soaking is required, try bathing in bed with the EZ Bathe inflatable tub. If no soaking is required try a sponge bath.
It is even possible to have a nice bathing experience without water:
No-Rinse® Shampoo is a clear, lightly scented liquid that is massaged into the hair creating a lather. No rinsing required, just towel dry and style. For additional convenience, try the No Rinse® Shampoo Cap. This no-drip solution contains both a lathering shampoo and a soft conditioner within a convenient "shower cap". It can even be placed in the microwave for a warm shampooing experience.
No-Rinse® Bathing Wipes leave skin feeling clean and deodorized. The No-Rinse® Bathing Wipes are larger than common towelettes and can be heated in the microwave for a few seconds create a warm, comfortable bathing experience.
For any of these bed bathing techniques, pay as much special attention to privacy and dignity as possible. Keep extra towels and a robe nearby. Cover body parts that are not being bathed - for warmth and modesty.
Professionals at a spa see all sorts of bodies and perform their services without making comments or criticisms of their guests. They are prepared for the task at hand and know that their business provides a service with dignity and discretion. This is why their guests love to come back again and again. Try adopting some of their techniques at home and you will be rewarded with a shared experience that makes bathing a more enjoyable experience for both of you.
© Copyright 2005 Dynamic Living, Inc.
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