The Better Way to Help Patients with IVs and Central Lines to Bathe Safely and Comfortably

patient with IVs care

If nurses had healing superpowers, they would probably grant instant recovery to every patients with IVs that they take care of. Since that is not possible, the next best thing is to give each patient a comfortable, pain-free, and as quick a recovery as possible. That can be achieved with the right skills, technology, and supplies.

Case in point, patients with IV and PICC lines have a hard time doing something as basic as taking a bath or shower. Nurses have to assist their patients with bathing to ensure that the patient is clean, comfortable, and that the access lines continue to function properly.

When patients cannot participate in their own daily care activities, such as bathing, due to their current health status, the result can be reduced self-esteem and feelings of helplessness. For the nurses, it can add more stress to an already grueling workload. This is the problem that inspired the development of SealSkin medical wrap.

Hygiene for Patients With IVs and Central Lines

IVs and central lines are a regular sight in oncology and infusion centers where they play a crucial role in administering medication, fluids, nutrition, and blood products. However, their vulnerability to dislodgement and infection means that constant monitoring needs to be done by nurses and caregivers.

Even with the right dressing securing the line at the site of insertion, the risk of dislodgement and infection remains high. Water can still get through semi-permeable dressings, creating a wet and fertile environment for bacteria to grow. As such, patients with IVs and central lines must take extra care to prevent undue movement and prevent the dressings from getting compromised. But this doesn’t mean they can’t have a shower if they are well enough to have one.

In fact, having patients take showers is known to be highly beneficial compared to sponge baths or a “bath in a bag” for various reasons:

  • A shower allows the patient to retain a sense of control and autonomy, which is important for preserving self-esteem and a positive outlook
  • Being able to get patients out of bed and moving around is important for improving respiratory status, maintaining cardiac function, preventing muscle and bone degeneration, as well as reducing the risk of thrombophlebitis
  • Patients enjoy more privacy with a shower which is another big reason why patient’s prefer showers
  • Standing or even sitting under running water is a much more effective way to bath and leaves the patient feeling clean and refreshed
  • Patients can wash their hair in the shower which can help them feel human again

With the right supplies and techniques, patients can protect their lines and the insertion sites so that they can regain some level of freedom and autonomy.

Medical Wrap That Enables Patients to Bathe Freely

SealSkin Medical wrap is a medical-grade wrap that you can use to secure lines and protect insertion sites to keep them from getting wet. The wrap is self-adhesive, which makes it easy to apply and remove without clinging to the patient’s skin, hair or dressing. More importantly, SealSkin medical wrap is completely waterproof.

Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends the use of transparent, waterproof plastic wrap as one of the best ways to secure IVs and central lines before bathing. The wrap keeps the line in place and prevents the intrusion of water and soap with little vigilance on the part of the patient.  For any ambulating patient, giving them the ability to bathe and take part in normal activities without risk is one of the best things you can give them as a nurse. They will be able to take part in their own care and the benefits from a good shower go a long way toward promoting a patient’s physical and mental well-being.

SealSkin Medical Wrap vs. Homemade Solutions

Before SealSkin medical wrap was available, nurses and caregivers had to get creative to secure lines prior to bathing activities. Some would use exam gloves, specimen or biohazard bags or even plastic wrap and tape to waterproof the site.  Although plastic wrap and cling film used to wrap food is commonly used it is difficult to handle and apply may not work well and still requires the use of tape. 

In some instances, even garbage bags, umbrella covers, and anything else people can think of are used to cover the lines. These novel solutions prove to be stressful, harder to use than they look, and lack a standardized and reliable way to manage a patient’s line.  And any hairy patient will tell you how painful it is to have the tape removed.

Having formulated SealSkin to address all kinds of medical needs, including the treatment of burns, we know that SealSkin medical wrap is the easiest solution to standardize the care of a patient with lines during bathing activities. It is a medical-grade, professional healthcare product that all nurses can recommend either in their own facilities or to home care patients and their families to make home care easier too.

How to Bathe With an IV Line

Using SealSkin will make bathing easier but there are still important education required to assist patients and caregivers on how to bath safely.

  1. While using SealSkin, do not immersed the protected area in water or subject it to direct water pressure. Patients should shower rather than bathe in a tub unless they can keep the area out of the water. 
  2. Patients should be advised to disconnect the line from the pump (or infusion bag) temporarily before bathing. If that is not possible, advise them to cover the connection completely and hang it on a shower hook. 
  3. SealSkin should be wrapped just like an ace wrap, snuggly but not too tight that it restricts blood flow or interferes with medication delivery.

Educate patients, families, and caregivers about signs and symptoms of inflammation and infection that they should be on the lookout for while caring for the patient.  These signs and symptoms include pain, redness, drainage, and swelling at the insertion site.  Let them know when it would be important to call a professional.

Medical-Grade IV Protection to Help Patients Bathe

In the hurried and stressful world of a nurse, it can be rewarding to be able to offer patients a professional solution that enables them to participate in some of their daily care activities. The independence and comfort of being able to take care of themselves will help patients to stay positive and happy, while the extra protection can improve the outcome of IV success rates.

SealSkin medical wrap is the premier solution when it comes to protecting IVs and central lines. It is simply the better way to help patients bathe in privacy, comfort, and safety while reducing the stress and workload of nurses. Learn more about how SealSkin medical wrap can make your life so much easier as a nurse and make your patients much happier.