Helpless patients' perception of bed-bath in tertiary health institutions in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria

  • Ijeoma O Ehiemere Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria
  • KO Olaoye Baptist Hospital, Saki


Background: The need to investigate the perceptions of helpless patients to bed bathing by nurses is a very important aspect of quality assurance in nursing care.

Aim: To determine the perceptions of helpless patients to the need for bed bath, the timing of bed bath, nurse's attitude during bed bath and the patient's attitude to being bathed by nurses of the opposite sex.

Methods: A descriptive, non-experimental design was used for the study and the main instrument for data collection was researcher-structured questionnaire, which also served as interview guide.

Results: The study showed that 96.7% of the respondents have received bed bath in the hospitals studied. Majority of them (94.5%) perceived bed bath as an important need. More than half of the respondents (62.0%) prefer to have their bath early in the morning while (26%) prefer their bath in the evening. Majority of the respondents (91.3%) perceived nurses as careful and (88.0%) perceived nurses as patient. However (5.4%) perceived them as haughty and indifferent. About a quarter of the respondents (27.2%) perceived being bathed by nurses of the opposite sex as violation of their cultural beliefs while (21.7%) perceived it as threat to their self esteem and psychological security.

Conclusions: Bed bath remains a significant need of helpless patients in hospitals and nearly all of them perceived it as such. This procedure should be carried out with care, patience and dedication realizing the psychological insecurity experienced by these groups of patients. In a situation where it is practicable, in recognition of the people's culture, helpless patients should receive this special service from nurses of the same sex.

Keywords: bed bath, helpless patient, hospital; perception

Journal of College of Medicine Vol. 10(2) 2005: 82-86

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eISSN: 1118-2601