Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Caregiver Tips For Dressing a Patient

Caregiver Helping Patient
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You can never have too much knowledge, whether you are starting your first day as a healthcare professional, or in your final week on the job. Here are some caregiver tips to help keep you and your patient safe when it comes to dressing that patient during their daily routine.

Common health care professionals’ questions are addressed in this easy dressing tips guide. 

How do I help my patient get dressed?

The most important caregiver tip when dressing a patient is to make them  feel comfortable while dressing them. Make sure to treat the patient in a polite manner. It is important to be careful not to pull or push them and try your best to avoid discomfort or pain. It is recommended that you talk to the patient while dressing them to ensure that they are comfortable.

Encouraging the patient to dress/undress themselves most of the time is advised and interference is necessary only when they face difficulty in changing. Keeping the clothes in reach of the patients is recommended in order to avoid difficulty. When dressing a patient becomes a challenge to independence or a struggle for both the caregiver and patient it may be time to recommend adaptable clothing that has been crafted specifically  to make dressing easier.

How do I prevent my patient from falling when dressing?

A great caregiver tip is to check their blood pressure while the patient is sitting and standing in order to make sure their blood pressure isn’t on the low side overall.

Gait, strength and balance evaluations can help determine whether the patient has poor balance and diminished leg strength. Doing exercises designed to improve balance and strength may help counter this.

When dressing a patent make sure that they are always wearing proper footwear. Try to always have a slip resistant bottom on anything and everything they are wearing on their feet at all times. Often patients don’t want shoes on at all times. This is why it’s important to have slip-resistant slippers ready for them when they want to take their shoes off and relax. If they are going to sleep, putting a pair of gripper socks on them can greatly benefit night time visits to the washroom.

How to help my patients get dressed without being injured?

Find the main pain points of the patient and start there. Patients at first may need your help when it comes to changing clothes, however as you teach them gradually, their confidence increases and their risk of falling decreases. It is important to give the patient some freedom when getting dressed and only provide assistance when needed. Adaptations to their clothing can help them feel independent but still making the dressing process easy. Easy touch closures and magnets instead of buttons and zippers, or simply elasticized pants can eliminate the struggle of everyday dressing. This will also cut the time of changing down, making it a less tiresome process.

Changing clothes can be a lengthy and tiresome process; it is important to keep a close watch over them and ensure they rest at frequent intervals. Tiredness may lead to falling and injury.

The use of adaptive clothing may help dressing a seated patient a lot easier and assist in preventing falls. Adaptive clothing pants may be changed from a seated position with no standing required.

Adaptive wheelchair pants completely open up. Legs can be inserted from a seated position and drawn up to the inner thigh. This may help prevent falling and may help dressing the individual easier. To learn more about adaptive clothing click here.

How do I keep myself from falling when helping elderly patients dress?

Make sure you wear suitable footwear in order to prevent any falls when dressing a patient. Having properly fitted, sturdy, non-skid soles may be necessary to help prevent falling while helping elderly patients.

It may be necessary to make sure that there are no trip-hazards or wet surfaces nearby when helping elderly patients in order to prevent falling. This may reduce the risk of both the patient and the caregiver from losing their balance at the time.

How to help someone dress with dementia?

It is important to get the balance correct when dressing a patient. Giving them a choice about what they want to wear daily, to promote a feeling of independence, but not asking them to choose from a large selection of clothes which could potentially overwhelm the patient. Labeling drawers so they are able to find clothes themselves if they are able may be a good idea.

Making the room comfortable by ensuring the room is warm enough to get undressed in and that the curtains are closed to give them some privacy. A chair or a rail may be needed to support them while they dress.

Giving guidance is necessary if they are unable to dress themselves or are lacking confidence. The amount you give is dependent on each person. A verbal prompt may just be required, for example, ‘put your shirt on, and then your trousers’. However some people may struggle physically putting clothes on and your assistance may be necessary. The use of actions and pointing to different parts of the body in order to help them grasp which item of clothing goes where may be helpful.

Using dressing aids such as shoe horns, elastic laces and other useful tools may help make dressing easier, especially if they have mobility issues. Adaptive Clothing can be a welcome addition to their morning routine. If they allow help, putting an open-back top on can save a lot of confusion and struggle. If they want to dress themselves, adaptable clothing options are available, such as open-side pants, or replacing buttons with easy touch fastenings and magnets. When disrobing behavior comes to the forefront, anti-strip suits are recommended.

It is important to allow the person plenty of time. It may take longer than before to get an individual with dementia dressed. Do not rush the process in order to help them, it is important to ensure they feel comfortable and calm.

How to help keep the dignity of an elderly person when they can’t dress themselves?

People may have a strong idea of what type of clothes are best suited to their personality and personal preferences, so stopping their ability to choose can be harmful towards their dignity. However, this does not mean you cannot assist them.

Alongside their approval you can help them dress, but let them choose what they want to wear. Included in this, is the physical act of choosing. Do not just lay out a particular outfit for the patient just to speed things up unless they ask you to. Give them adequate time to choose their own from the wardrobe. This caregiver tip for dressing a patient will allow  them to feel more independent.

Prevention is the key to dressing a patient

Assessing your patients’ ability to dress and pointing out any pain or problem points is the first step to dressing them efficiently and painlessly. Next, preventing the problems and giving them proper tools to help them get dressed will allow you and your patient to dress safely and happily. A caregiver tip is to help them remain independent for longer.


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