Personal hygiene is important for a number of reasons including; Health needs, if you have specific health needs poor personal hygiene can impact this, Appearance, good personal hygiene is reflected in your appearance, Social Acceptance, it is socially acceptable to have good level of hygiene, Working Environment, it is important to look presentable in the work environment. 1. 2 Poor personal hygiene can have a number of impacts on an individual’s health and well being; physically it could lead to infection, disease, exacerbation of an existing condition or fungal conditions.

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Socially and emotionally it could lead to social exclusion, alienation, bullying and lack of self confidence. 2. 1 Addressing personal hygiene matters is about being diplomatic for example by asking an individual if they would like to have a bath rather than saying “I think you need a bath”. However, you must remember that although you might think that it is important to bath or shower every day the individual might not agree. If there is a definite issue about their personal hygiene, such as others complaining that the individual smells then you must address it privately and in a manner that shows respect.

If you need to tell them that they smell you don’t make an issue of it but just explain that it can be easily dealt with and you are there to help if they wish. 2. 2 When trying to make individuals aware of the effects of poor personal hygiene on others a good idea is to ask them how they would feel, and use naturally occurring events such as when they are toileting to explain to them why it is important to wash their hands etc. Or you could put up posters, provide them with leaflets. 2. 3

When supporting an individual to develop and improve hygiene routines it is s good idea to assist the individual with each task then allowing them to do what they can on their own, giving them more independence gradually. Take the individual shopping for toiletries and make it something that they can enjoy,however remember that not everyone feels the need to shower everyday so don’t push it too hard. 3. 1 Maintaining personal hygiene is necessary for many reasons; these can be personal, social, for health reasons, psychological or simply as a way of life.

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Essentially keeping a good standard ofhygiene helps to prevent the development and spread of infections, illnesses and bad odours. There are many contributory factors that make up personal hygiene with the main ones being washing, oral care, hair care, nail care, wound care, cleansing of personal utensils, Personal hygiene is as it says, personal. Everybody has their own habits and standards that they have been taught or that they have learnt from others. It is essentially the promotion and continuance of good health.

Probably the most important aspect of all, food hygiene is very closely associated with personal hygiene. Other contributory factors can be role models, self image, routine/habit, independence etc. 3. 2 It is important to support the preferences and needs of the individual, such as comfort, safety and security, preferred products, help deciding what items they need/ want. While maintaining their independence as much as possible, such as supporting and encouraging own choice with products and procedures. 3. 3

Maintaining dignity of an individual while supporting them with intimate personal hygiene can include taking in to account personal beliefs and preferences such as enabling them to choose their level of personal cleanliness, adequate facilities provided, choice of own toiletries. Discuss hygiene routine and agree on access to the facilities and equipment. 3. 4 With assisting an individual with intimate personal hygiene, there comes the risk to own health these can range from spread of infection to allergies to certain products which is why it is important to wear the correct PPE.

Reducing the risk to your own health when assisting an individual with personal hygiene includes; being fully aware of the processes and procedures, correct use of PPE, and having good interpersonal skills and good levels of communication with the individual. 3. 6 Other people that may be involved in supporting an individual to maintain good personal hygiene could include; hair dresser, dentist, podiatrist, health care clinic, GP etc. 4. 1

Underlying personal issues that may be the cause of poor personal hygiene can include restrictions due to physical factors, such as height, weight, size, allergies or sensitivities also mental illness such as depression, dementia, schizophrenia and learning disabilities. 4. 2 Underlying issues can be addressed through the effective implementation of an individual’s person centered care plan, as well as active support of individuals by helping them understand and address any physical factors such as, skin conditions, body odour, weight issues etc. With issues such as mental health the advice and support of a professional would be advisable.

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