The primary concern of the nurse for every patient is their well-being. To achieve well-being, the ability to prevent, diagnose, treat, and provide comfort should be established by the nurse. Most nurses only give emphasis to the treatment of their patients. Medications, procedures, and diagnostics are given more priority because of the notion that once a patient is stable and free of the disease, he or she is completely well. Have we looked at the comfort that our patients are receiving? Nothing could be more refreshing for a patient than being able to achieve the level of comfort that he or she deserves.
Let us learn how to placate whatever illness our patient experiences by noting these tips on how to refresh our patients at their bedside.
1. Your Eye, Your Gems of Sight
Seeing the sunrise, twinkling towards your beloved, sparkling against the ray of sunshine, and gazing at the wonders of nature are some of the most wonderful roles of our eyes. The ability to see every amazing thing in the world is credited to our eyes, making them deserving of being the treasures of our face, or most commonly known as the windows to our very soul. However, these sparkling gems need maintenance too. They need to sparkle and shine a bit more so they may be able to see the world beyond. As nurses who are tasked for the daily well-being of your patients, here are some fail-safe tips on how we can polish and maintain our patient’s sight jewels.
Explain the game. Treat your eye care like one of those computer games that toddlers play but in more serious, adult mode. You need not think that you are there to serve, think that you are there to learn and conserve. Procedures should be explained to the patient, even the most basic ones so we can gain their cooperation.
Comfortability is the key. There is nothing like being positioned in the most comfortable position just like being in a spa. Let your patient feel relaxed and comfortable by supporting the head to tilt back and letting the patient lie whether on the bed or a couch. It would be a lot like receiving a full body cleansing in a trendy spa, and the only difference is your eyes are the focus, and the procedure is more sterile and effective.
The light should be right. You should be able to see what you are dealing with, so shine the light on those eyes! But be careful not to overdo it unless you want to dazzle your patient too much and they’ll end up with blind spots afterwards. The light would enable you to maximize your observation of those precious gems.
Hand hygiene is in. If you ensure that your hands are free from harmful microorganisms, you would be able to polish away the dullness of your patient’s eyes. It will inhibit the spread of microorganisms in the eyes.
Start the essential part. To start with the main event, moisten the gauze slightly using 0.9% sodium Chloride. Clean the unaffected eye first and wash the lids while they are closed. This should avoid cross infection and damage to the cornea. Instruct the patient to look up and swab the lower lid gently from inner to outer canthus. Then swab the upper lid while the patient looks down. Procedure should be repeated on the other eye.
All done. Now that you have cleaned your patient’s gems of sight, wrap everything up and clean as you go. Place the patient on a comfortable position and document the procedure then you are good to go!
2. Your Hair, Your Crowning Glory
Flip your hair as often as you like (if you are a girl) and revel in its ability to make you stand out. Our hair is a major part of our first line of defense and the best accessory that has come packaged with us. So while we go about our day we may not notice all the dust and dirt clinging to our crown of glory and at the end of the day we might not recognize our pride. We could not let this happen to the patients under our care, so let us dive into this hair dare and restore its allure.
Arrangement of equipment. Before you run your hands on those soon-to-be dazzlingly clean strands, make sure all you would need is complete. This is to avoid retracing your steps into the station because you forgot the shampoo, or the towel, etc.
Explain to gain. Gain cooperation, that is. Yes, even the most basic task of shampooing your patient’s hair would need the approval of your patient.
Give privacy, respectfully. Curtains should be drawn around the patient’s bed because hygiene is a matter of privacy. Isn’t it?
Position towards transition. A comfortable position would make the patient feel like he or she is in a salon. This way, there would be no more fuss the next time he or she needs another ‘breather’ for the hair.
Prepare the hair. Of course, you cannot just pour water unceremoniously. Pull off pins and other accessories first if there are any. Brush and comb out all the tangles to avoid rumpling the hair too much afterwards. Be sure to remove the pillow that the patient is lying in so it would not get wet.
Wetness is next to messiness. As a nurse, you must pursue cleanliness and neatness. A wet bed is never a pretty sight, so place a bath towel and a Kelly pad under the patient’s head. The Kelly pad would also serve as a receptacle for the water. Place a pail at the end of the Kelly pad too. The bedding should also be fan-folded down to the waist so it will stay dry.
Water crawls into holes. Protect your eyes and ears to avoid water from entering. Plug cotton balls inside the ears and place a damp washcloth over the patient’s eyes.
Shampoo time! Wet the hair thoroughly. Make a good lather after applying the shampoo. Let the patient relax so he or she can actually feel like they are in a salon for a change. Mechanically massage the scalp with the pads of your fingertips too for a complete experience. Now all you’re missing out are candles and relaxing music. Rinse thoroughly using cold water. Squeeze excess water out of the hair properly.
Clean and pretty, finally. Dry the patient’s hair by rubbing a soft towel and a hair dryer. Then comb the hair and brush out the tangles. This helps distribute the healthy oils along the hair and promote blood circulation along the scalp.
The trick’s to fix. After fixing the patient’s hair, fix your equipment and the area. Remove the Kelly pad and the pail and mop off any wet areas. Assist the patient back to a comfortable position and never forget to promote safety too. Now the patient could enjoy their clean, fresh hair that would alleviate any discomfort even just for a short while.
3. Your Hands and Feet, They Keep the Beat
The movers and shakers of our body are undoubtedly our hands and feet. These parts of our body play a vital role in our daily tasks and chores and we would be crippled if they are injured. Moving to the beat of our life, our hands and feet can be considered as our personal assistants who would willingly do what they are told, and we do not lose such helpful aids, do we? As well as our other parts of the body, let us learn to care for them through these easy-peasy steps.
Explanation for cooperation. As with the other procedures, however basic and simple they are it should be explained to the patient to gain their cooperation. Also, prepare the equipment before performing the procedure.
Safety is our priority. Our number one priority as nurses is our patient’s priority. We would not want them to slip and add to their injury, so a linen-saver should be placed under the patient’s hands and feet to avoid moisture. Be sure to wash your hands too. Hand hygiene should be our most used procedure.
Advocate for our hands and feet. We are caregivers, so we should be very mindful of how we perform the procedures. We should be going for comfort and alleviation, never injury and disease. To start with the main event, use only warm water for soaking. Soak hands/feet for 2-10 minutes to soften the skin, nails, and debris. Use a small amount of mild antibacterial soap to clean the hands/feet. Then, rinse well to avoid irritation.
Finish with relish. Now that you are done with the main event, it is time to pat everything dry using a soft towel. Do not rub vigorously to prevent skin damage. Focus on the area between the fingers and the toes. Using a towel, push the cuticle gently back because they prevent our tiny enemies, namely bacteria, to enter the nails. Lightly dust powder between the fingers and toes to maintain dryness.
Additional care instructions. To wrap it all up, assess the condition of the hands/feet. Pulses, capillary refill, and turgor should be checked too. Perform nail care by cutting the nails straight across. This may not be fashionable for you, but this would avoid ingrown nails to invade your flesh. Apply cream, not lotion to rehydrate and plump up the skin. As these are our movers and shakers, perform ROM exercises on the hands/feet to maintain their perky functions. And that’s it!
P.S. Do not forget to remove the equipment used and clean your hands. Clean as you go! And also document everything you have performed for legal purposes.
4. Your Mouth, Your Portal for Nutrition
It might be considered as one of the dirtiest places in our body, but without our mouth, we cannot enjoy the food we love. Not only our taste buds rejoice whenever our mouth is in function, our cells and the organs of the body do too! This is the number one tunnel to deliver the food that would give us nutrition so it should be given special care and attention. Hop in and let us go on an adventure as we enter and clean the portal of our nutrition.
Procedure first to reassure. Every procedure should come with a manual, and in our case, it is an oral one. Explain thoroughly to the patient what you will be doing to facilitate cooperation and assure the patient that the procedure would not cause harm or pain.
Preparation is the first option. No one would want to work with incomplete materials, right? Save time and effort by assembling your equipment before performing the procedure. Prepare your patient by drawing the curtains around the area to provide privacy. No one wants to have their mouth cleaned while everybody looks on, it would be highly embarrassing.
Protection and safety is best for everybody. Our main goals, obviously. Keep our patients smiling and safe by positioning them in the most comfortable position possible, and also to avoid aspiration of fluid. Place a towel under the patient’s chin to avoid wetting their chest.
Start the best part. Let us now start with the refreshing part. First, moisten the bristles of the toothbrush so it will soften the bristles. Hold an emesis basin under the chin as a receptacle for saliva and water. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle because this would permit cleansing of all the surface areas of the tooth. Move the bristles back and forth until every surface is cleaned. Biting surfaces should also be cleaned in short strokes. The tongue should also be brushed in a gentle motion to remove tongue coating and avoid eliciting gag reflex. Rinse the patient’s mouth thoroughly afterwards.
Don’t forget! Flossing is also a part of our mouth hygiene too. It reaches the places that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. Rinse using tepid water or a mouthwash for a more pleasant taste in the mouth. Now, who would not want a fresh and clean mouth? The patient would be more encouraged to socialize with others despite any discomfort he or she may feel. Dispose the equipment appropriately and wash your hands. Last of all; do not forget to document the procedures done.
After you are done with all these hygienic measures, your patient would surely feel refreshed, revitalized, and more comfortable than before. The patient would wish to do the procedures every day because they surely reduced the feeling of discomfort one feels in a hospital. This is one step towards wellness, and this does not require any expensive pampering. Let your patient feel extra special and rejuvenated and he or she would be up and going in no time at all.