I am a H.C.A. who is part of a multidisciplinary team and I am working in a nursing home with 40 patients for 3 weeks now. Today I was given the task by the nurse to give Mary a shower on my own for the first time. I felt a bit anxious about this as I have only assisted this task with another server user. Mary is a 70 year old woman who is suffering from Early Stages of Alzheimer’s. I have changed Mary’s name to protect the identity of the patient under the Data Protection Act 1988 & 2003 and Freedom of Information Act 1997 and 2003. Mary is a new patient to the nursing home and this is Mary’s first week. Mary’s husband Bill calls to visit Mary every day at 10.30 a.m. and Mary’s 3 children call with their families in the evenings for visits. So I decided to give Mary her shower early as stated in Mary’s Care Plan.
I firstly checked the temperature of shower room to see was it warm and comfortable enough for Mary. I then proceeded to go to Mary’s room to introduce myself to Mary and just to chat with Mary and to make her feel at ease. I greeted Mary and Mary smiled back and greeted me. Mary seemed to be in good spirits. I then asked Mary was it ok that I brought Mary down for her morning shower. Mary replied that “I am very happy to go for my shower now”. I then asked Mary what clothes would Mary liked to be dressed in after Mary’s shower this will maintain Mary’s independence. I then asked Mary did Mary need some help in gathering up her toiletries for Mary’s shower. I then assisted Mary to the shower room. Mary was quiet shy so I kept talking to Mary to assure that It was ok and we would proceed at Mary’s pace. I kept eye contact with Mary this eased Mary and Mary seemed more relaxed with me. I also felt more at ease then also. Mary undressed herself and I helped Mary into the shower and Mary was able to wash most of her upper and lower body apart from Mary’s lower legs and feet which I washed for Mary. Suddenly the shower room door flew open and Mary got such a fright and was very upset and embarrassed. Not to mention how I felt. I couldn’t apologise more to Mary as it was solely my fault for not locking the door behind us. I felt so bad about this situation and I made Mary feel embarrassed and Mary’s dignity and privacy suffered also. There was nothing I could do at the time only to apologise. When Mary was finished I helped dry Mary and Mary was able to dress herself before heading back to Mary’s room. My action plan for the next time that I am showering Mary or any other patient I will make sure that I lock the door to maintain the patients dignity and privacy.