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How to dress up a dependent patient?

As many patients are not able to eat on their own due to severe weakness or paralysis, in a similar manner, several patients are not able to dress up themselves due to weakness or old age. However, the level of assistance that a patient requires depends upon the patient and the type and extent of medical condition from which s/he is suffering. It is the duty of a certified nurse assistant to help such patients in their day to day activities. A little help may give patients a sense of satisfaction and happiness which, in turn, helps them recover fast.

Procedure to be Followed to Dress up a Patient

Here is a brief outline of the steps to be followed:

  • Start with rinsing your hands properly- using antiseptic soap and lukewarm water to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Undress that part of the body which is weaker. Initially patients will need your help in changing clothes, but gradually as you teach them, they gain confidence and the risk of falling lessens.
  • While helping the patients in changing cloth- they must not feel uncomfortable and let them complete the maximum part of the work by themselves.
  • Remove the used clothes and keep them aside. Ensure that the patient can reach the clean clothes.
  • Provide assistance only when they need it.
  • Changing clothes can be a long and tiring process for the patients, so you must keep a close watch on the patients and make them rest at frequent intervals.
  • First dress the part of the body which is stronger. Then the weaker part of the body must be dressed.
  • Give the patient sufficient freedom to dress so that s/he becomes independent gradually.
  • Wash your hands after the process is over with antiseptic soap and lukewarm water.

What does the examiner notice when you perform this skill?

The examiner observes the following points:

  • If you rinse and dry your hands properly.
  • If you place the clean clothes within reach of the patient to avoid the risk of falling (in case of weakness).
  • If you start the procedure by undressing the patient from his/her weaker part or stronger part of the body.
  • Whether you allow the patients to dress themselves, and help them sit or reach out to bed, in case they felt giddy or exhausted.
  • If you place the dirty clothes aside.
  • Whether you wash your hands after completing the activity.

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Expert’s Advice

Many nursing assistants use the same trick to dress up a patient. But experts suggest that the same trick doesn’t work with all the patients.

  • Take due care that you treat the patient politely. You must never pull/push her/him as s/he may get hurt.
  • Talk to the patients while you dress them up so as to make them more comfortable.
  • Encourage the patients to dress/undress themselves most of the time. You must interfere only when they face difficulty in changing.
  • Keep the clothes within the reach of the patients to avoid any difficulty.