Health and Social Care- Learning aim A


Providing personal care- including washing, toilet

Keeping clean, enjoying a meal and using the toilet when needed are tasks and activities that most people are able to take for granted and do for themselves. 

However, when people become either physically or mentally ill, or thery have a disability, these everyday activities can become a challenge. There are important reasons, in terms of physical wellbeing, why people should be clean, eat well and be able to use the toilet when necessary. Dealing with these very personal areas of life has an impact on self esteem and general confidence. It cannot be overemphasised how important it is for  health and care workers to approach these sensitive areas of a persons life with thoughtfulness and maintain an individuals dignity. 

Carers must discuss usual rountines and prefrences in terms of personal hygiene and diet with clients. For example, when washing the client may prefer a bath to a shower, or a thorough wash to either of these. Most people would prefer to take personal responsibility for these tasks and wash in private. Independence should be encouraged, but where specific help is needed the client's dignity and privacy should be preserved. Toilet and bathroom doors should be closed and shower curtains drawn. You should follow policies abd the procedures they outline in setting to ensure the safety and dignity of the service user while carrying out these tasks. 

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The equipment used for personal hygiene

A wide range of equiptment is available to increase the independence of people in terms of their personal hygiene and to support carers providing personal care. The equiptment includes: 

  • walk in baths
  • showers suitable for the use of wheelchair users
  • non slip bath mats
  • bath and shower seat
  • hand rails 
  • bath lifts and hoists 
  • adapted taps 
  • bedpans and commodes 
  • female and male urinals 
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Religious and culture (personal cleaning)

Health and care professionals must also be aware of and respect religious and cultural differences related to personal cleanliness, for example: 

  • muslims and hindus normally prefer to wash in running water ratehr than having a bath 
  • muslims and hindus often prefer to use a bidet rather than use paper after going to the toilet 
  • sikhs and rastafarians do not normally cut their hair 
  • hidus and muslims would strongly prefer to be treated and supported by someone of the same sex. 
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Specific dietary requirements

Many people have specific dietary requirments. This will sometimes be related to specific religious beliefs, sometimes to physical disorders and sometimes to personal choice, for example: 

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