Recent statistics reveal over 835,000 Americans currently reside in assisted living communities, with another 1.4 million living in nursing homes. Long-term care facilities are focusing more attention on bathing solutions that improve the resident experience. The ideal bathing solution should guarantee optimum hygiene, maintain an individual’s privacy and dignity while creating a soothing, comfortable, and safe atmosphere for residents.
Apollo Bath provides the senior-living industry with a range of bathing systems and solutions designed to transform the bathing process from a dreaded routine into a pleasurable and safe experience for many residents and their caregivers
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Bathing Solution
Bathing systems come in all types, sizes, and shapes. Within each product are several features and functions to keep in mind when choosing the right system for your facility.
Involving the right experts in buying decisions
Consult relevant staff members directly in charge of bathing. Determine the staff’s current challenges and identify a wish list of improvement areas. Consider consulting rehabilitation and accessibility experts. Lastly, include the bath system manufacturer.
Consider the safety of the residents.
Resident transfers, particularly with lifts, are some of the most challenging and hazardous tasks, even for skilled nursing staff. The safety of the residents and caregivers should be a top priority when evaluating bathing solutions. The transfer process is often an overlooked consideration. The ideal equipment you choose should meet all industry regulatory requirements for safety.
Consider the cognitive and ambulatory status of residents.
You should also determine your residents’ cognitive and ambulatory status, as this factor ultimately determines the type of bathing technology to implement. Relatively dependent residents may need products designed to assist caregivers during bathing, such as height-adjustable tubs. On the other hand, if you determine that your residents are fairly independent, you may need to focus on a bathing system that enhances their sense of independence.
Consider bathing environment
It is crucial to consider the bathing environment as well. Specifically, size is a critical factor to have in mind during your search for the ideal bathing solution. Notably, if you are putting the bathing equipment into an existing or already designed space, you should ensure your chosen bathing system will accommodate the available bathing environment. Once installed, the system should allow your caregivers and residents to move freely around the tub.
Another factor that must be addressed when choosing bathing solutions and during the design of the bathing area are the existing environmental concerns. Poorly lit or poorly drained environments pose serious hazards. Strive to create pleasant environments with artwork, music, plants, and other decorations to make the bathing experience more pleasing to your residents, including those with dementia.
Consider your budget
Bathing equipment designed for assisted living, skilled nursing, or other care facilities requires some investment. If your facility is operating on a tight budget, consult the manufacturer for the best options available. There are bathing systems with modular options that can be added over time to enhance the bathing experience. Also, consider flexible payment terms, options, or even a lease to lighten the capital spend. The good news is this is a long-term investment and can be amortized over many years. It is important to remember the cost of the bathtub in itself is not a final cost. Professional installation is advised.
The bathing essentials are worth consideration. Some companies offer warranty deals on the bathing system if compatible liquids are used in the tub. Patient health can be impacted by the soaps and shampoos used during the bath. Try bathing products that offer a comfortable alternative to standard bathing practices. These include shampoo, hand sanitizers, and body baths. Additionally, consider products with non-irritating formulas that help prevent harmful skin reactions. These often are products with no alcohol, which can lead to dry skin.
Look at features and extras.
Some bathroom equipment comes with features designed to provide residents and caregivers with a more memorable bathing experience. Key features to look out for include:
- ADA Compliance: ADA compliant equipment is designed to meet the needs of residents with mobility issues. Most bathing equipment designed for homes and assisted living facilities are ADA compliant
- Warranty: Having a good warranty can add confidence that you won’t be incurring the extra cost of repair and maintenance that may arise in the future.
- Safe and secure transfer systems. Certain lift-style transfers can be unnerving and create anxiety.
Staff training needs
Another factor to consider is the training requirements for each bathing system and solution being evaluated. For every new system that you introduce to your facility, you must educate your staff. Determine if the manufacturer or distributor of the bathing system offers free training as part of the purchase package. Adequate training helps enhance safety while making the bathing process as pleasing and comfortable as possible. Train caregivers on methods to promote positive attitudes towards new technologies amongst the residents. Ideally, informed caregivers can facilitate successful communication that minimizes resident anxiety when faced with new and unfamiliar bathing technologies.
Identify a project champion.
You should also consider identifying a project champion to serve as your staff’s point person during consultations, and in case any questions arise. The project champion will help research the perfect bathing solutions based on internal feedback and the goals of the facility. A project champion can help encourage and rally staff members.
How to Evaluate Bathing Technologies
When evaluating bathing systems, consider versatility, cost-effectiveness, and adaptability. You should also look for features and functions that may make bathing easier, safer, and more efficient for your staff and residents.
Walk-in tubs or side-entry tubs: Consider systems that feature a walk-in or side entry feature for residents who can ambulate and use a transfer chair and those who lack mobility. Such systems help maintain a level of independence for residents with mobile capability while also aiding those who need added assistance.
End-entry and recumbent tubs: These systems are uniquely designed to accommodate residents using wheelchairs and those who can’t physically support themselves during entry, bathing, egress, and exit.
Infection control systems: You should also evaluate tubs for the presence of infection control systems that help minimize the risk of salt contamination or cross-contamination among your residents. Some of the disinfecting systems to consider are whirlpool disinfectant technology and ultraviolet systems.
The speed of water: Evaluate the speed at which the water is entering the tub. Although a quick fill tub helps fill water quickly to expedite the bathing process and thereby decrease anxiety for residents who have a bathing phobia, the speed at which the water enters can also elicit fear and anxiety among some of your residents. Therefore, you must keep in mind the specific needs of your residents if your facility is considering a quick-fill tub. Typically, the biggest consideration in fill time is related to the time a resident and staff must wait for the tub to fill with water. A Rapid Fill(™) reservoir tank can be a game-changer in resident experience and staff time.
Get help to choose the ideal bathing solution for your facility.
If you need help to determine the best bathing solution for your facility, contact Apollo Bath today. Our mission is to serve the needs of Skilled Nursing, Long Term Care, and Senior Care professionals and make their stay as delightful and comfortable as possible. At Apollo, we always strive to go the extra mile to meet and exceed your expectations. We will not only deliver excellent services, but we also ship parts or consumables on the same day you have ordered.
We also provide reliable support from design consultation to ongoing technical assistance. As a leading industry equipment and systems provider, our mission is to find the best bathing solution suited for your needs. Contact us for more information about how Apollo Bath can help your facility.