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Clothes are closely associated with the personality of a person and whenever possible, while he is cared for in bed, he should be encouraged to wear the kind of clothes he would normally wears. When a person is very sick or disabled, he may have difficulties with dressing and undressing. In these circumstances, you will either undertake these activities for the person or, at least, assist him to perform them. The nurse should always encourage the person to regain the maximum amount of independence as quickly as possible and the act of dressing is one step towards independence

A person who is unwell usually feels cold more than anyone due the decrease of activities. It is your duty to ensure that he is dressed appropriately to keep warm. This is especially so in comatose person who cannot express his needs. Those who are alert could be quite embarrassed in the process of been dressed or undressed

In choosing clothes, the following points should be considered durability, comfort and cheapness. Moreover they should be easily washable, attractive in appearance and simple. The choice of materials for clothes is important. Light weight, loosely woven materials are bad conductors of heat and so are used to conserve the body heat

Cotton is good in warm weather as it easily absorbs perspiration and quickly dries, so cooling the body. It is reasonably inexpensive and easy to wash. The choice of colors for clothing is important. White and light colors are cool whereas darker colors particularly red and black are warm

Step-wise Procedure for Assisting a Dependent Patient in Dressing

Step 1: perform initial tasks: wash hands and wear gloves. Wish the patient. Explain him that you are going to assist him in dressing

Step 2: teach the correct way to change clothes: in order to trim down th risk of injuries and falls, guide your patient the right procedure to change clothes. It will also help in increasing his level of independence

Step 3: assist in undressing: start undressing the patient on his weaker side. Allow him to remove his clothes at his own. Support him when he asks for your assistance or when you feel the requirement. Put the dirty clothes to the side. Put the clean clothes in such a way that the client can reach them easily

Step 4: monitor carefully: you need to keep a watch on your client minutely in order to prevent him from falling. Ensure that he is able to dress safely. In case, he feels dizzy or fatigued, be prepared to help him/her either to lie or sit down instantly

Step 5: assist in dressing: guide the patient to begin dressing with the strongest side first. Say if, the patient is stronger on the right portion of the body; ask him to put his right arm in the right sleeve, first. Let the client to perform maximum of the task without your help

Step 6: perform final task: put dirty clothes at proper place. Dispose the gloves and rinse your hands

Points to Remember

  • Ensure that clean clothes should be within the reach of the patient. Even if your client is able to reach his clothes, do not allow him to stretch
  • Begin undressing on the weaker side of the patient’s body. Dressing must be started with the strongest side first
  • When the patient completes the task, put dirty clothes in a proper holder or receptacle
  • The design of clothes is also important. They should be well fitting easy to put on and take off. Any necessary elastic should be sufficiently wide to be comfortable and not too tight. Underclothing should be frequently changed. Boys and girls as they grow older should learn to choose their own clothes, should be allowed to develop their own styles and use colors to suit their own personalities
  • The most effective teaching is done by teachers and parents who should get a good example. Damp clothes whether wet from rain or perspiration should be changed immediately to prevent excessive chilling of the body


Physical exercise plays an important part in the maintenance of health especially in the growing child. The extends of exercise must be suitable to the age of the individual. Exercise should form a regular part of the daily program

Importance of Physical Exercise

  • Physical exercise requires muscle activity, which in turn needs greater supplies of oxygen and sugar. It results in the creation of the excessive heat
  • The demands made by the muscle for more oxygen and sugar stimulate the respiratory and cardio vascular systems, generally speeding up activity and so increasing the ventilation of the lungs and improving the circulation throughout the body
  • This stimulation enables the brain to work more efficiently and increases the general resistance of the body to disease. Proper ventilation of the lungs prevents respiratory infections

Types of Exercise

  • Active exercises
  • Passive exercises

General Instruction for Exercise

  • Regular exercise is necessary
  • Selection of exercise should be according to the physical condition
  • Early morning is the best time for exercise
  • Place of exercise should be peaceful, ventilated and well lit
  • Duration of the exercise should be increased gradually but fatigue should be avoided
  • Laughing is a good and an effective exercise


Habit is a simple form of learning – a change of behavior with experience. It is defined as “an automatic response to a specific situation, acquired normally as a result of repetition and learning”. When behavior is developed to the extent that it is highly automatic, it is called habit. Generally, habit does not require our conscious attention. The term, habit is strictly applicable only to motor responses, but often applied more widely to habits of thought, perhaps more correctly termed attitudes. Many habits are formed as a result of inborn tendency of young children to copy others, especially their parents. Good habits can be of use but a person should not be entirely controlled by habit. It may be necessary to change certain habits, to cultivate new ones.

Important of Habits

Habits play important role in our daily life. All of us acquire different habits. They are the part of our life. Habits may be good or bad. Hard working, writing, reading, regular exercise, meditation, etc. are examples of good habits. Alcoholism, drug addiction, lethargy, procrastination, telling lies, dishonesty, stealing, deceiving others, escapism, etc. are examples of bad habits

Definition of Habit

A habit is defined as an action, at first requiring attention which comes to be performed without attention if repeated many times – under similar condition

Types of Healthy Habits

Habits training begin soon after birth. They are best taught by examples. Some of the important habits which should be taught are, bladder and bowel control, sleep and rest, dental care, feeding and meal time behavior, care of the skin, hair and nails, clothing, use of cosmetics, good manners and general courtesy. While habits may be encouraged, they should never be forced

Basis of Habit Formation

Habit formation may be explained in two terms – physiological and psychological. The physiological basis is related to our nervous system. According to this, when an act is repeated more number of times, a clear nervous connection is formed, leading to a path way. This makes smooth shifting of nerve energy, may be from sensory to motor.

According to Hull, when a stimulus is repeated and response is elicited, the connection becomes strengthened. Eventually it brings about an organization in the nervous system known as habit, otherwise called learning

The psychological theories explain that habits are acquired dispositions. According to these theories, any learning process or experience gained by an individual is retained. When this learning experience is repeated, it is firmly retained. This ability to retain helps us to get a strengthened and becomes a habit

Common Problems of Bad Habits

Irregular bowl habits results in constipation. A routine, allowing sufficient time to go the lavatory after breakfast is a good useful habit, convenient especially when the child starts to go to school

Periodic attacks of constipation, should not give rise to undue roughage, plenty of fresh fruits and adequate amounts of water will prevent occasional constipation. Plenty of exercise and fresh air are also advised.

Regular uses of laxatives are not advisable. Children should be taught to use them properly. There should be facilities for washing hands. r

HYGIENE - PATIENT CLOTHING, EXERCISE & HABITS - Definition, Purpose, Points to Remember
HYGIENE – PATIENT CLOTHING, EXERCISE & HABITS – Definition, Purpose, Points to Remember


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