CNA Training Skills: How to Give Your Patient a Partial Bath

cna trainingCNA Training

After CNA training, one of the most common daily skills you will perform will be bathing your patients. This ensures your patients stay healthy and comfortable as they recover from their various illnesses or injuries. However, there will be times when it is impossible to move the patient into the shower area, either because of time constraints or because the patient is unable to stand up or walk. If this is the case, you will need to take what you learned during CNA training and give your patient a partial bed bath.


Before you assist your patient with a bed bath, however, you must, as always, wash your hands and put on gloves. This ensures you do not promote the spread of germs after CNA training.


Giving a Patient a Partial Bath After CNA Training: A Step by Step Approach


  • Inform the patient that you will be helping them with a bed bath today. Answer any questions they might have, and then begin gathering the supplies you will need for the bath. In CNA training, you should have learned that a bed requires two basins of water, towels, wash clothes, flat bed sheets, and soap.


  • Fill the two basins with warm water. The temperature of water should be about 105 to 115 degrees. Test the water before you use it on the patient by applying a little to your elbow or the inside of your wrist. If it feels too hot for you, it will be too hot for the patient. One basin will be used for soapy water, one for rinse water, just like you learned in CNA training.


  • Your patient may have various pieces of medical equipment hooked up to him. Remove as much as possible before you begin any bed bath after CNA training.


  • Shut the door, close the curtain, or place a divider between your patient, the door, and any other patients in the room. This will give your patient the privacy he or she needs during the bed bath after your CNA training.


  • Help the patient get undressed, providing as much privacy as possible. Allow the patient to do as much as they can for themselves. Self care is important to the emotional and physical well-being of your patients.


  • Cover your patient with a flat bed sheet, exposing only areas of skin that are washing. Place towels beneath the area you are cleaning as well, to prevent the patient’s sheets from becoming wet.


  • Begin by washing the patient’s face, using gentle strokes with a washcloth. Work from the face down, washing the neck, the arms, the chest, the stomach, the legs, the back, and then finally the perineal area. A different washed cloth should be used for every area of the body to avoid the transfer of germs.


  • Rinse the patient with a clean washcloth when you are done washing, and then use a clean towel to dry them completely. As you learned during CNA training, any wet area of the skin can lead to breakdowns and infection, so dryness is essential.


  • Apply lotion and powder as needed before helping the patient dress in clean clothing. Remove any soiled linens, including bed sheets to prevent infections, and then help the patient adjust in the bed so he is comfortable.


  • Dispose of the water and wash out the basins. Place your soiled towels, washcloths, and linens in the appropriate receptacle. Remove your gloves, and wash your hands.



Giving Your Patients a Bed Bath After CNA Training is Important


After CNA training, assisting your patients with a partial bath can not only keep them comfortable, but reduce the spread of germs. It can also provide you with the opportunity you need to check the patient’s skin condition so you can look for signs of infection and bed sores, both of which you learned how to identify in CNA training.

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