How Do I Get An Alzheimer's Patient To Take A Shower?


Asked by wendy grobler

How Do I Get An Alzheimer's Patient To Take A Shower?

I'm having problems in bathing a patient—he refuses to take a shower. What can I do to get him to take a shower?


Hi Wendy

Trying to encourage someone with Alzheimer's to take a shower when they refuse is a common problem. I am pleased that you have highlighted this issue as it is one, as you realize, that needs to be handled with care. You can feel you are caught between a rock and a hard place as a nurse.To have your patient looking uncared for because they refuse to cooperate with basic hygiene procedures can reflect badly on you. There are a number of things you can do.

If they refuse walk away and try again later.

Later offer him/her a bath or a help them wash if they continue to refuse.

Sometimes changing the way you approach a situation can make all the difference. Make a joke of something, make the idea of a shower their idea by distracting them to gather their towel/wash things/clothes etc.

Keep calm,
Speak to her/him with a soft even voice
Reassure her/him
Tell her in simple language what you are doing and why
Do not force her unless the situation puts her or you at risk

If this problem continues discuss it with their family and his/her doctor as they may give you ideas about how to get their cooperation.

Remember the first rule of nursing-always cover yourself by sharing the problem with your boss! :o)

Here are links to more on this subject that may help you and give you some ideas.

Problem Behavior in Mid to Late stage Alzheimer's

Refusing to cooperate

Let us know how you get on.

All my best wishes


Answered by Christine Kennard