When should I wake my father up to preform personal cleansing tasks?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father has been admitted to at-home hospice care today. Mostly I am alone with him and am responsible for his personal care except when a certified health aid comes once a day. I aked the hospice co-ordinator a million questions, but forgot to ask this; Do I wake my Dad to perform personal cleansing tasks? My feeling is to let it go for an hour maybe, but longer than that I fear the damage to his skin and possible sores. Any general guidelines keeping in mind that it is pretty painful for him to roll over, even with my assistance and the use of a draw cloth.

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Sorry to hear your dad is not doing well. It is good that you are helping to take care of him, as I am sure this is a comfort for him. The hospice team can help you with your questions anytime, so do not feel bad for asking them advice, as this is a hard time for you too.

Regarding his personal care, my answer would be to do his personal care as soon as you can if he is soiled, as urine and excrement could damage his skin if left there too long. If he gets a sore, this could also cause him pain, so you would like to prevent that if you can.

If he is having pain when rolling over, he may need more pain meds, especially before his personal care times. Morphine is always a good choice.

My other thought is that if it possible, a urinary catheter may be inserted to help reduce his incontinence, therefore decreasing the amount of times you would need to change him and turn him. Ask the nurses if this would be possible when they come to see him. Hope this helps!