Patient Hygiene

Providing patient hygiene is one of the most important nursing care activities. Besides directly affecting the physical well-being of the patient, it plays an important role on patient’s emotional well-being. It is a type of intervention that promotes comfort and wellbeing while acting as a preventive measure against possible infections.¹

Neglecting patient hygiene can lead to hospital acquired infections. Patient hygiene for adults consists of oral hygiene, bathing, shaving, brushing and styling the hair.² Before performing any activity for patient hygiene, healthcare staff should ensure that they have decontaminated their hands. You can get more information here regarding hand hygiene.

Patient Hygiene Highlights


Bed bathing typically uses soap, tap water and other cleansers. However, the bath and products used may vary from one caregiver to another, which can yield different results. This lack of consistency can lead to confusion and misinterpretation by patients or their families.

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It is not necessary to wash a patient’s hair daily, rather this can be done once per week. Washing the hair keeps it and the scalp healthy, prevents infections and gives comfort to the patient. Besides washing the hair, combing the hair daily boosts the self-esteem of the patient and prevents tangling.2 

Oral Care

Consistent oral care plays an important role in preventing infections and promoting better patient hygiene. It is very important to conduct an early assessment of a patient’s oral health in order to take the right measures on time. With the use of toothbrushes, swabs, mouth moisturisers and mouth rinses, a complete oral care regimen can be provided. You can read more information on oral care here.

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¹ Goldenhart AL, Nagy H. Assisting Patients With Personal Hygiene. 2021 Oct 1. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 33085302.

² Carvajal Carrascal, G., & Montenegro Ramírez, J. D. (2015). Hygiene: basic care that promotes comfort in critically ill patients. Enfermería Global, 14(4), 340.