Dining is related to Bathing??
I recently saw an article regarding the The Latest Dining Trends in Senior Living. Food is an important – even essential part of life and there aren’t too many that will argue with the statement that providers need to up their game to keep residents and elders in their communities. We’re a persnickety group, well actually, many communities need to have a dining overhaul – and it’s about making the food and the dining experience appealing as opposed to grueling. (Obvious pun intended) – So it’s not about being picky at all.
In addition to all this talk of food making me hungry, the word ‘trend’ turned my mind toward other trends in Elder Care — such as bathing.
Hygiene is a daily ritual for most Americans. Whether it be brushing our teeth, washing our face, hands or hair – water and some sort of cleansing product is coming into contact with our body at least once a day. Perhaps our elders are not in the habit of a daily baths or shower either because of their preference, custom or health of their skin. Even still, hygiene is an important part of a healthy life.
So….Isn’t bathing pretty basic? Does it change? Does it needs to??
Well in regards to bathing elders – yes, it’s fairly basis, but it still needed a transformation.
On the Right Bath….
Not so! According to “History Myths Debunked“, people likely didn’t immerse themselves in water daily like is common in the 21st century, but they did wash themselves, or if wealthy enough had someone wash them.
30 some years ago the way nursing and care communities bathed elders and those unable to care for themselves began to transform with the introduction of hydrotherapy or whirlpools. Simply put, air and water circulated through internal plumbing lines, pushed out of ports in the tubs inner skin to create bubbles in the water to help ease aches, pains and relax muscles.
Elder care and hospital settings can be replete with bugs and germs – it’s no secret. Even with all the procedures and protocols in place for cleanliness and hygiene, germs still find a way to make us sick. Whirlpool baths are guilty of cross contamination because of the design: continually pulling water in through intakes, passing that water through a heater before coming out of jets – over and over. The same bath water is being circulated over. and. over. Through the course of the bath the water contains, skin, feces, and a bunch of stuff you can’t see.
The whirlpool tub is cleaned at the end of the bath of course – disinfectant is run through those lines. BUT! Those pluming lines are inside the tub and can’t be scrubbed – gunk collects in that dark, damp environment over time. In those lines and in the whirlpool pump stuff collects – you know the “stuff” and “gunk” I’m referring to. (eg: Organic material is high in bacterial count which increases risk of illness)
However, whirpool baths certainly transformed eldercare bathing as being revoluntary at the time.
A Transformation for the Bather
Another transformation happened with the introduction of BathAire aeration systems in 1994.
Turned the senior or elder care hygiene industry on its ear! Simply put – a pump blows warm air out of aerators that are specially designed to self seal. After the air turns off they snap closed. Of course you know water can’t get into the aerator if the air is blowing out. So immediately there is a great reduction in the risk of cross contamination from the unique and ingenous design of BathAire.
This now allows elder care homes, hospitals or other care communities to focus on the bather. On their likes and dislikes on what they prefer and what they don’t. There are lots of ways care communities can transform their bathing areas into spa rooms with the features and amenities to make it more spa like.
Trends toward comfort, safety, relaxation and luxury — that’s the kind of trend we see in bathing for Seniors, Elders and others needing hygiene assistance.
It really is about the person, as it should be.
Thank for taking the time,