CNA Skill: Giving A Partial Bath

Assisting your patient with performing daily bathing rituals will help the patient to remain comfortable as they recover.  Bathing is an important part of helping your patient to stay as healthy as possible.  Due to the difficulty of moving a patient for a bath and the significant demands this process palces on staff, a patient may receive periodic bedbaths.  Before you assist a patient with bathing, be sure to properly wash your own hands.  Greet your patient, and let them know that you will be giving them a bath.  Then, follow these steps to complete the bath:

  1. Obtain a basin for water, and fill it with warm water.  The water should be between 105 and 115 degrees.  Test the water with your inner wrist or elbow- if it feels uncomfortable to you, let the water cool down.
  2. Remove as much medical equipment as reasonable.  Be sure the patient has privacy by blocking the view into the room before you undress the patient.
  3. Allow the patient to complete as much of the process as he or she is able to.  Self care skills help patients to feel that they are in control of their health.
  4. Begin by gently washing the patient’s face with a sponge or washcloth.  Move downward to the arms, chest, stomach, legs, back and perineal area.  Use a clean cloth for each part of the body to avoid transferring contaminents.
  5. If the patient’s linens become wet or soiled, change them as soon as possible.
  6. Apply lotion to any exposed areas if the patient so desires.
  7. Assist the patient into a comfortable sitting or lying position, and help the patient dress themselves.
  8. Wash your hands again after properly disposing of supplies for the bath.

By assisting the patient with bathing, you can help the patient remain as comfortable as possible.  Regular bathing may also reduce the liklihood of spreading germs, and will allow you an opportunity to observe the patient’s general physical condition and report issues such as bed sores.

Examiners Checklist For This Skill:

1) Performed beginning tasks.
2) Prepared resident for partial bath.
3) Filled basin with water at correct temperature to resident
4) Washed, rinsed and dried face, hands, axilla, perineal area and
other areas as appropriate.
5) Removed linen used for bathing and placed in appropriate
6) Prepared resident for dressing.
7) Performed completion tasks.

Expert Tip by Tanya Glover, CNA

When you actually go to work in a nursing home, you will have many patients to care for because for some reason, the state mandates that each hall only needs a specific amount of aids. However, the amount they recommend is way too little for all the work to be done properly. Having done this work for many years, I will share the secret to my success when it comes to partial bed baths. Please know that it may not sound like the ideal thing to do, but honestly, it is the only way to get your patients the mandatory things that they need each day during your shift. When you have 12 plus patients, even a partial bed bath can take forever. My way of doing it takes less time and the patient still gets the vital areas cleaned.

I follow the steps of getting the soap and water basin and I lay out their clothing before I begin. I begin with the face and then do the neck as the neck tends to collect gunk if not washed every day. If the patient is a woman, I then wash under the breasts to prevent gunk buildup and the development of sores. Once that is done, I add some powder to keep them clean and dry. Next is the under arms. Once they are done I apply the deodorant. Moving down, I get their private areas well and that is all. As a dedicated aide, we all wish we could do more, but at least I hit all the sensitive areas and got the other ADL’s out of the way at the same time. The last thing to be done is dress them and get them out of bed before you move onto your next precious patient.

3 Responses to CNA Skill: Giving A Partial Bath

  1. Ricardo O March 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    wow…she’s using the same wash cloth to soap and rinse? I’m confused

  2. Brittany May 31, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    I’ve noticed a few things wrong with this video, the 1st thing being that she’s working over the side rail and I specifically remember my instructor telling me to NEVER work over a side rail! The other thing that I noticed is that she didn’t change the surface of her wash cloth when wiping the outer face or the arm. I was taught to wipe, change surface, wipe, change surface again, and so on. Didn’t watch anything after that. I don’t want to learn it incorrectly

  3. Kevin Eugene Callaway August 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Thanks Brittany! Kevin from Florida.

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