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A color photograph of a nurse standing at the bedside putting ointment to a patient.
Figure 7.1 Patient hygiene is of paramount importance in all healthcare settings and has significant implications for both patient well-being and infection control. Maintaining proper hygiene practices for patients helps prevent the spread of infections, enhances patient comfort, and contributes to overall health. (credit: modification of “U.S. Navy Sailors perform medical care at Billings Clinic Hospital 211113-A-PE084-003” by Navy Medicine/Flickr, Public Domain)

You are a nurse assessing an 87-year-old patient in a care facility who has very limited mobility. Your patient welcomes you in while ambulating with a walker and slowly removes some items from a chair, signaling for you to sit. As you strike up a casual conversation to build rapport, you begin to observe their disheveled appearance. You notice their unkempt hair, soiled clothing, rough skin, and dirt under some of their fingernails. Your sense of smell detects body odor, indicating a lack of bathing and oral care. Evaluating patient hygiene is important to determine how well a patient can care for themselves or how well someone is caring for them. Good hygiene is necessary for health, comfort, personal well-being, and safety.

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