What Are the Steps to Care for a Bedridden Patient at Home?

Author: Lauren Greaves

Reviewed By: Catherine Braxton

The steps to care for a bedridden patient at home include ensuring safety and comfort, maintaining personal hygiene, providing proper nutrition and facilitating consistent medication management. By following these steps and seeking in-home care when needed, you can create an environment that promotes safety and well-being while supporting your loved one’s needs.

Understanding the Challenges of Bedridden Care

Caring for a bedridden patient at home requires patience, compassion and dedication. Depending on their condition, a senior may be bedridden for a week, a month, a year or even longer, leading to several challenges. Bedridden patients can experience physical deterioration, including circulatory and nutritional issues, muscle weakness, infections and pressure sores. Mental health struggles may also arise, such as feelings of loneliness and reduced cognitive function.

Steps for Providing Quality Bedridden Care at Home

Caring for a bedridden patient can be physically and emotionally demanding. However, with proper planning and adequate support, it becomes possible.

  1. Comfort and Positioning: Regularly adjust the patient’s position to prevent discomfort and bedsores. Use pillows and supportive cushions to maintain proper alignment and relieve pressure. Ensure the bed sits at a comfortable height to minimize back strain.
  2.  Personal Hygiene: Provide bed baths, change clothes and bedding regularly, assist with grooming and provide incontinence care to reduce infections or skin breakdown. Use gentle skincare products to prevent irritation.
  3. Nutrition and Hydration: Provide nutritious meals that align with the patient’s medical needs and oral abilities. If they no longer wear dentures, choose softer foods that won’t cause pain. Offer water and beverages regularly to ensure proper hydration, especially if they experience difficulty swallowing.
  4. Mobility and Exercise: Encourage gentle range-of-motion exercises to prevent stiffness and muscle atrophy. If possible, perform simple activities, such as moving their arms and legs, to maintain mobility and circulation.
  5. Medication Management: Monitor the patient’s medications and dosage schedule and be aware of potential side effects. Ensure timely prescription refills and correct administration. Communicate with health care providers about any concerns or changes in the patient’s condition.
  6. Emotional Support: Be attentive to emotional needs and provide companionship and reassurance. Engage in meaningful conversations, activities and hobbies to uplift their spirits and help them maintain social connection.
  7. Safety Measures: Create a safe environment by removing trip hazards, installing grab bars or bed rails and ensuring adequate lighting. Educate yourself on proper lifting and transferring techniques to prevent injuries to yourself and the patient.

Seeking Support

As a caregiver, it’s equally important to take care of yourself so that you can provide the best care for your loved one. If you feel overwhelmed or need assistance, speak with a health care professional for guidance, and consider enlisting the aid of a home health care agency or respite care. Local support groups also offer emotional assistance and a chance to connect with others in similar situations.