In this direct observation, I will demonstrate how my positive values were expressed when assisting a mentally ill female with her personal hygiene.
Personal hygiene is described as a physical act of cleaning the body to ensure that the skin is maintained to optimum condition (Department of health [DH] 2001).
Throughout this direct observation, the clients name and the health care setting will not be disclosed as this would breach confidentiality (Nursing and Midwifery Council [NMC], 2004). For this reason the client will be referred to as 'Maria'.
Maria was a 45 year old and suffered from manic depression. Manic depression is described as a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's energy, mood and ability to function (Skapinakis 2004).
As a result of Maria suffering from manic depression she neglected her personal hygiene, especially bathing. Holland et al (2004) suggested that standards of hygiene will be affected by the mental well being of a person, and individuals who are depressed may loose interest in maintaining their hygiene. Previously she has been found to deceive the nurses by stating she bathed in the morning, which was untrue and she began to develop sore, itchy, flaky skin and a distinctive odour.
Before assisting Maria with the bath, I ensured I had read her medical history and knew of her current emotional state to ensure safe practice (Dougherty & Lister 2005).
I began by approaching Maria and explaining the procedure and why I would be assisting her with her bath. This gave her an opportunity to ask any questions and allowed us to gain a stronger bond. (Taylor et al 2001) states that by explaining a procedure to the client helps build a good rapour with the client. Dougherty&Lister (2005) state that, the time taken to attend to personal hygiene will provide a good opportunity for communication. I ensured Maria was comfortable with me being present and gained her consent before commencing which is in accordance with the NMC (2004).
While discussing this with Maria I ensured I was sensitive to her needs by using open questions to allow her to dominate the conversation and thus allow her to object to the bath if she wanted to. This is a good way of empowering Maria and by approaching the subject sensitively I was able promote the importance of bathing (Severinsson, 2003). Holland et al (2004) stated, 'personal cleanliness and hygiene are an essential part of a person's well being and health'.
Before Maria got undressed I ensured the door was locked to promote privacy and her dignity (essence of care). Holland et al (2004) cited the work of Henley and...