Personal Care Basics

Personal Care Basics

* Client’s needs for assistance with personal care can change from day to day, depending on how they are feeling. Involve the client in determining how much care you will be providing or assisting them with at each visit.

* Know your limitations and Agency Policies. Generally, Personal Care Assistants are to “assist” with personal care only and if completer personal care is required, a certified HHA must provide this care.

* Be aware of your client’s personal preferences concerning their personal care.

* Before you begin and task, explain to the client what you are doing.

* While providing personal care, it is important to observe the client for any changes in behavior, condition, or level of activity.

* Some clients may be influenced by culture or religion in their personal hygiene practices and habits, you will need to adjust care accordingly.

* Assure safety and comfort.

* Your demeanor and way in which you assist with personal care can either reinforce the feelings of being valued or can cause the client to feel de-valued.

Assisting a client with bathing

Types of baths:

* The partial bath- used when the client does not need a complete bath or for some reason is not able or allowed to take a complete bath. You may be asked to assist the client in the areas that are hard for him to reach.

* The tub bath- make sure you follow the service plan when determining if the client can take a tub bath. In a tub bath, you may be asked to assist the client into the tub and assist in areas that are hard to reach.

* The shower- is utilized for clients who can bathe themselves. The client may have a shower chair to help them bathe.

Guidelines for bathing

* Allow the client as much privacy as is safe.

* Make sure you put towels or bath mats down to ensure proper footing while getting into and out of bath.

* If assisting with bathing, wash from cleanest area to dirtiest.

* ALWAYS check water temperature before allowing client to get into water. Water should be approximately 105 degrees.

* While assisting with the bathing process, observe the client’s skin integrity.

* For a tub bath, it is easier for a client to get out of the tub if you drain the tub first.

Nail Care

* Clean and trim fingernails and toenails as needed.

* Review your service plan before trimming nails.

* Check the feet of a client a with diabetes or circulatory issues daily. Do not trim nails of those with compromised circulation or diabetes.

* Generally, it is easier to trim nails after soaking in a basin or bath.

* Clip nails straight across. A softened cuticle can be pushed back with an orange stick, if indicated on service plan.

* Use care not to injure skin when clipping nails.

Consequences that may result from toenail care or neglected toe nails

Examples of problems:

* Nails too long or too short

* Inappropriate angle of trim

* Nicks/cuts


* Pain/immobility

* Infection

No nail care on diabetic patients!!!!!!!

Oral care challenges in the older adult

* With age, saliva production decreases which can lead to increased tooth decay and infection. Clients without the manual dexterity to provide proper oral care can be especially vulnerable to mouth problems.

* Gum tissue recedes with age which can make more prone to infections.

* Poor oral hygiene can lead to poor appetite and weight loss.

* Poor oral hygiene has also been associated with heart disease and the development of pneumonia.

Oral Care

* Oral hygiene involves cleaning the mouth, gums, and teeth or dentures.

* Proper oral care will help remove food particles and assist in preventing tooth decay or serious dental problems.

* Oral hygiene prevents sores and bad breath and keeps mucous membranes from becoming dry and cracked.

Quiz: Personal care


1. There is no need to explain what procedure you are doing before you do it. The patient should already know. T OR F

2. Poor oral hygiene can lead to poor appetite and weight loss? T OR F

3. When performing oral hygiene on your patient it is important to brush the patient’s gums as well as the teeth/dentures? T OR F

4. It is ok for a patient to ask you help them wash areas that is hard for them to reach? T OR F

5. When bathing a patient, you start with the dirtiest area and move towards the clean area? T OF F

6. HHA’s are permitted to do nail care on diabetic patients? T OR F


1) F

2) T

3) T

4) T

5) F

6) F