SELF CARE refers to all of the things we do to look after ourselves, our health and appearance including washing, dressing, using the toilet and eating. With a range of different needs, each of our service users will need support with different aspects of their SELF CARE; this update will help get you thinking more in-depth about that support. This is a very personal area of an individual‘s life and so we must take extra care to ensure we only offer support when required and that when we do it is done safely and appropriately. First we will look at the reasons we promote good personal hygiene amongst our service users and the positive outcomes that we can expect. Then we shall look at the difference between supporting a service and encouraging them to do it themselves and how to decide which the appropriate approach in a given situation is.
The Care Certificate
This update will relate to standard 2 DUTY OF CARE as well as standard 7 PRIVACY AND DIGNITY, although this will be looked at in more detail in next week’s update.
Using the Internet for help
Here is a useful guide produced by skills for care we can use to make sure that when we support our service users with their personal care we do so in a dignified way: –
Of course you can always search “DIGNITY IN CARE” for more information, (hint – start with Wikipedia!).
Why good personal hygiene is important
Part of our duty of care to our service users to is ensure their personal hygiene is managed, ideally by themselves but, if that service users is unable to attend their own needs, we may need to help them out. There are a number of different reasons why maintain good personal hygiene can have a positive effect on our service users’ lives, here are just a few:-
• Gives them pride in their appearance and self worth
• Reduces the chances of getting ill from a cold, virus or other infections
• Gives a good impression when meeting new people
• Poor hygiene can lead to negative attention from people, good hygiene can lead to positive attention
• Reduces the stigma that our client group often suffers and helps to combat negative stereotypes
When to support and when to encourage
There are a number of different reasons why one of our service users may need our help with their personal hygiene, some that will require active support from us and others that require positive encouragement. Let’s look at a few examples of why a service user may neglect their personal hygiene and which would be the more appropriate response, support or encouragement.
How Might you know
What to do
|Physical issues stopping them to attend their own needs||Diagnosis of physical impairment, that impairment will likely affect other areas of their life as well such as cooking, cleaning and attending trips
|Memory/forgetting to attend their own needs||Diagnosis of mental impairment, issues around memory affect other areas of the service users life such as dates, names and places
|Confusion/mental issues stopping them from attending their own needs||
Diagnosis of mental impairment, that impairment makes complex thought and logic difficult for the service user
|Lack of motivation to attend their own needs||Displays a lack of motivation to perform other tasks such as cleaning their room, clearing dishes and attending appointments.
|Lack of Self Worth/ don’t see the point in attending their own needs||
Shows signs of low self-esteem, depression or anxiety. They isolate themselves and avoid social situations.
|Poor habits that result in poor hygiene||Poor routine or difficulty keeping to a routine in other areas of their lives, late to bed late to rise, behind on bills, but expresses a desire to improve these areas
|Informed choice||They understand the importance of good personal hygiene but choose not to make it a priority and do not keep to the same standards we hold for ourselves
||Leave them to it, it is their choice!|
What to do when supporting a services user
Supporting a service users with their personal hygiene can potentially be one of the most problematic areas of your role as you may be required to help the service users dress/undress, use the toilet, bathe etc, situation you do not normal involve other people with. This can make the situation uncomfortable and potentially damaging for both the service users and yourself and so it is important we act appropriately. Standard 7 of the care certificate highlights some points to be aware of when supporting our service users with their personal hygiene:-
• Always ask individuals before touching them in any way
• Knock on the door or speak before you enter the particular space or room they are in
• If your role involves supporting individuals to wash or dress make sure you protect their dignity and privacy by making sure curtains, screens or doors are properly closed
• Clothing or hospital gowns should always be arranged in a dignified way
• If someone needs support to go to the toilet they should not have to wait or be left too long for you to return.
This is an important topic and we will go into greater detail next week when we discuss some of the SAFEGUARDING issues we must consider when offering this kind of support.
What to do when encouraging a service user
Positive encouragement and therapeutic rapport are topics we will get deeper into at a later date, but for now here are a few points to consider when encouraging our service users to attend their own personal hygiene needs:-
• Be non-judgemental, positive and enthusiastic
• Be person-centred, look for this particular individual’s reasons for not attending their needs
• Respect their privacy and dignity, be aware of who can see and/or over hear your conversations
• Offer choices, set goals and empower them to take control
• Be patient!