How to Help Your Patients Manage the Hair


Brush and comb the patient’s hair at least twice a day, and arrange it in a style that is easy to manage and pleases the patient.

Anyone who has been ill for a long period will probably need his hair washed. A local hairdresser may be willing to visit the home, but they will almost certainly want the patient to sit at a handbasin.

If you need to wash the patient’s hair in bed, first help the patient into a suitable position. This could be lying back with a bowl under her head, or sitting up in bed and leaning over a bowl on a bed-table. Protect the bed and surrounding floor by covering both patient and bed with a liberal supply of waterproof material and the floor with plastic sheeting or newspaper. Find out what shampoo and conditioner the patient prefers. Wash the hair thoroughly and rinse it well in clean water. Use a hair dryer if there is one available, otherwise rub the hair dry with warm towels. Finish by brushing and combing it so that it looks attractive.

Examining an infested head

Lice infestation can affect both clean and dirty heads of hair, whether standards of cleanliness are high or not. Lice multiply quickly by laying eggs, which are called nits and stick to strands of hair. Lice spread in crowded conditions, especially amongst schoolchildren. If an infested head is found, ask the other members of the family for permission to examine their heads. Once you have treated the condition, examine the hair regularly to check that there is no recurrence.

  1. Protect the patient’s shoulders. Dip a fine tooth-comb into disinfecĀ­tant solution. With a swab in one hand, comb the hair from roots to tips.
  2. Wipe the comb on the swab after each stroke. Examine it for lice and inspect the hair for nits. Scurf will brush out but nits stick firmly to hairs.
  3. If lice are found, apply chemical compound such as malathion or carbaryl. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and protect the eyes.

Washing the hair in bed

The patient can lie back on the bed with a bowl under her head and her shoulders raised on pillows covered with plastic sheeting.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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