Carer Tips: Personal care


An essential aspect of care-giving, providing 'personal care' means to assist your client with bathing, grooming, dressing and toileting as required.

Given that this is an intimate and very private part of an individual's life, good communication between you and your client is vital.

Person-centered care

Consultus carers provide person-centered, not task-orientated, care. This means they tailor the care they provide to suit the needs of their client, rather than a 'one size fits all' approach. This is important when it comes to providing personal care, as the type and amount of assistance needed will depend on the individual’s capabilities. 

To effectively deliver person-centered care, it is important to understand the Care Values:

• Individuality
• Privacy
• Independence
• Dignity
• Choice
• Partnership
• Respect    
• Rights

Why is cleanliness important?
Skin is the largest organ of the body and provides a complete covering and protection for the body. Skin becomes dirty, collects dry sweat, dead skin cells and oily sebum. It is ultimately a breeding ground for bacteria, which could lead to infections; bacteria can also cause offensive odours. Cleanliness improves a person’s morale and feeling of wellbeing.
Bathing & showering
When bathing or showing a client, be aware of the individual’s abilities and needs: how independent are they? Are they safe to be left?

Showering is easier than a bath; your client may have the option to sit in the shower. Is the person more independent in the shower? There are some great bath and shower aids available, should you feel your client would benefit from them. If the individual is with struggling with bathing or showering, an OT assessment may be needed.
Bed bathing

A bed bath is the answer for individual’s who are unable to get out of bed. Dignity, privacy and comfort during a bed bath are top priority. Should you need to undertake a bed bath for a client, be sure to collect together all items that are required before starting the procedure. Make sure the client then has clean bed linen and night wear. Before doing the bed bath, make sure to prepare the environment properly: ask yourself, will the individual be warm enough?
Eye care
When elderly individuals are ill their eyes can become dry, irritated and sore. To help ease any soreness your client may be experiencing, you can gently wash around the eye area.

Equipment needed:
• Cotton wool
• Bag for used cotton wool
• Clean bowl of water
• Tissues or a towel
• Disposable gloves
• Eye drops, if required.

Mouth care
Bacteria multiply in a mouth that is not regularly cleaned. Age or illness can reduce the saliva production leading to:

• Dry mouth
• Sore lips or tongue
• Thrush (fungal infection)
• Ulcerated gums

Bed bound or dependent individuals may need assistance.The mouth can be cleaned with swabs using water or liquid toothpaste. The lips can be moistened with Vaseline or lip salve. It is important to note any painful, sore areas of the mouth.


The elderly are particularly vulnerable to foot conditions due to poor vision and decreased mobility. Even though carers are not to undertake ANY nail cutting, special attention can be taken to prevent infection, odour, and injury of a client’s hands and feet. Click here to read our hand and feet maintenance tips.


Grooming is a very important for emotional well-being. Your client may need assistance with grooming, such as shaving, nail care and hair brushing.

It is important to encourage an individual to choose what they like to wear. How you look is linked to self-esteem.

Some tips:
• For an individual with a weak side, start with that arm
• Jumper: encourage the individual to put both arms through first, then take the garment over their head
• Socks, tights or stockings – ensure not too tight
• Elasticated waists, clip on ties and Velcro fastenings
• Support the individual to pull trousers/skirts up to the knee, put on shoes/slippers, stand and pull up clothing
• Easier to dress an immobile individual in bed.

Consultus' carers undergo personal care training as part of our mandatory Four Day Induction Course

To find out about becoming a live-in carer with Consultus, contact our Recruitment team on 01732 355 231 or email Alternatively, visit our website.

Further reading

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