Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

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.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Jun 12, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.