Show Menu

Clinical Skills: Personal Care Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Personal Care Defined

Personal care is defined by bathing, oral care, and grooming.
Instit­uti­ona­liz­ation: People are creatures of habit, sometimes we may become too comfor­table with receiving care that we lose our indepe­ndence. It is important to encourage patients to provide self-care for themselves when they are able to.
Why is Hygiene Important?
1. Safety: You are killing pathogens which may cause disease. Skin is partic­ularly important to clean due to skin breakdown.
2. Comfort & Well-b­eing: People find dignity through not only being presented as properly groomed, but their self perception is positively influenced by being clean.

Factors & Prefer­ences of Self Care

Develo­pmental Level
Cognitive Ability
Physical Ability

How Nurses Provide Personal Care

DIPPS: Dignity, Indepen­dence, Privacy, Preference, Safety
Knowledge: Cultural Practices, Therap­eutic Commun­ica­tion, A&P (Clean to Dirty), Pathology, Nursing Process, Standard Precau­tions, Products Used
Skills: Assess­ment, Standard Precau­tions, Organi­zation, Body Mechanics, Client Teaching, Docume­ntation
Judgement: Client's Self-care Abilities, Approp­riate Product Use, Bathing Techni­ques, Room Enviro­nment
Attitude: Care, Respect, Empathy, Confid­ence, Flexib­ility, Non-Ju­dgm­ental

Assess­ments During Personal Care

Mucus Membranes
Lesions, Open Areas, Bleeding, Dryness, Fungal Infections
Acne, Rash, Dermat­itis, Dryness, Open Areas, Discharge
Dandruff, Alopecia, Scalp
Oxygen, Dryness, Discharge
Excessive Wax Build-up, Hearing
Ingrown Nails, Fungal Nails
Calluses, Warts, Fungal Infections

Methods of Personal Care

At Sink
*Over Toilet
Tub Bath
Total Bath
Partial Bath
Oral Care
♦ Shower: Not recomm­ended for certain patients, hard to breathe
♦ Over Toilet: Be mindful of care provided over the toilet, it can be demeaning.

Bathing Products

Warm Water
Personal Soap
Barrier Cream Products
Disposable Wipes
Shampoo & Condit­ioner
♦ Patients will usually have their own basins or personal wipes for infection control.

Bed Bath

Prepar­ation: Privacy, Turn Heat Up, Warm Water
Order to Wash: Eyes, Face & Neck, Arms, Chest, Legs, Back, Perineum
♦ Wash clean to dirty to prevent infection spread from dirty areas to clean areas.
♦ Take extra care to dry folds to prevent skin breakdown.

Oral Care

Needs & Abilities prior to assist­ance, General Appear­ance, Odors, Pain, Mouth Struct­ures,
Lips, Mucuous Membra­nces, Gums, Tongue, Teeth, Odor, Dentures,
Brushing Teeth & Gums, Flossing, Denture Care
♦ Oral care is provided BID (AM & PM) under normal circum­sta­nces.
♦ Before or after meals
♦ Q2H when client is: uncons­cious, unable to eat by mouth(NPO)
♦ Never put your fingers into an uncons­cious client's mouth, they may bite due to reflex.


Glasses, Contacts, Artificial Eyes, Hearing Aids, Medical Necklaces & Bracelets
Brush Hair, Lotions, Makeup As Wanted

Additional Notes