To imagine the refreshing, systematic washing routines that most people follow in the morning, or even to picture the chaotic but enjoyable bath time exploits of children, was to seriously underestimate the personal hygiene problems of these long stay psychiatric patients. Many of them were extremely resistant to bathing and getting changed because they were confused, suspicious, lethargic, or otherwise irrational about the process. This meant that days or even weeks could pass before the patient could be coaxed or cajoled into accepting the nurses’ help. Given also that many of them were frequently incontinent of faeces, urine or both, and that some were unpredictably violent, the delivery of hygiene cares could be much nearer hell on earth, than singing in the bath at home. We were frequently castigated for allowing the residents to become dishevelled and (at the same time) frequently warned about exerting pressure on them to become less dishevelled (as this breached patient rights)…..www.windowsofmadness.co.uk


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