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A clean home provides a healthier and safer place to live. Cleaning removes dust, mold, mildew and bacteria from the air and surfaces in the home. This helps to prevent germs from spreading and makes breathing easier. Clients, who are elderly or have disabilities, may be physically or mentally unable to take care of their home environment.
Remember to clean from the cleanest areas to the dirtiest areas. Plan your work so that you can complete all assigned tasks before you leave. Try to establish a routine. Always follow the instructions on the label of a product. Do not mix products together. Store all cleaners away from children, pets and heat sources. Change the cleaning water frequently. Rinse well to avoid streaking or film.
As a Caregiver, you may be assigned to perform housekeeping tasks for the Client. Your assignment sheet will tell you exactly which tasks you are to do. It is important to remember that you are not there as a housekeeper for the entire family. The housekeeping tasks that you provide are to be for the Client only. As a Caregiver, your job is to:
- Assist the Client
- Keep the environment clean
- Observe safety precautions
When you are cleaning the home, you may find that you and the Client have different opinions about what is clean. Try to clean to meet the Client’s definition of clean and not your own. If you and the Client have very different opinions about cleanliness, talk to your supervisor. If the home situation is unsanitary or unsafe, report this to your supervisor.
- Dust with a damp lint free cloth.
- Use motions that will not spread dust.
- Dust furniture, pictures, windowsills, blinds, etc.
- Ask the family how they usually clean the floors. Some floors may require special cleaners.
- Follow the Client/family's instructions.
- Waxing floors should not be done as it makes them dangerously slippery and is not necessary for cleanliness.
- Using too much water on tile or linoleum floors can cause the floor to become slippery.
- Hard floors may be swept, vacuumed or mopped. Vacuum or sweep carpets and rugs.
It is very important to keep the kitchen clean, as this is where eating and food preparation takes place. Special care must be taken to eliminate bacteria.
- Wipe up any spills on the stove or counter as they occur.
- Clean out the refrigerator on a regular basis. Ask the Client if you may throw out food that no longer appears safe to eat.
- Wash dishes with detergent and hot water as soon as the Client finishes their meal.
- When hand washing dishes, allow them to air dry. This is more sanitary than drying them with a towel.
- Bleach is a good germ killing cleanser for cleaning sinks and counter-tops.
- Unplug any electrical appliance before wiping/cleaning it with soap and water.
- Take out the trash regularly, replace trash bags, and clean out the trash can as needed.
Bathrooms require frequent cleaning due to the increased moisture in the air in this room.
- Use a germ killing cleaner to clean counters, sinks, showers and toilets. You can make your own cleaner by mixing 1 quart of water with 1 tsp. of bleach. Never mix bleach with other cleaners.
- Keep the floors dry to prevent falls.
- Make sure rugs and mats have a non-skid backing before a Client goes into the bathroom. If they do not then remove them from the pathway to prevent accidents.
- Shower or tub should have grab bars.
- There should be good lighting and proper ventilation.
- Ask the Client or family how laundry is usually done in the home. Some Clients will have their own washer and dryer. Other Clients may have to use a Laundromat.
- If you are using an appliance in the home, ask the Client or family how to use the machine.
- Do not overload the washer. Clothes should be sorted by color, fabric type and heavy soiling. Example you would not wash dirty towels with a silk blouse or a red shirt with white clothing. Never pour bleach on colored clothes.
- If you are washing linens or clothing that is heavily soiled with body fluids, you should add one cup of bleach to the wash. Plan so that clothes are washed, dried and put away before you leave. Remove clothes quickly from the dryer to avoid wrinkles. Remember to only do laundry for the Client.
You will need to know how to make an occupied and unoccupied bed. The procedure for making the bed may vary according to whether or not the Client can get out of bed and the types of sheets available in the home. Clients usually have fitted sheets in the home, but you will also learn how to make mitered corners using flat sheets.
The bed should be clean, dry and as free of wrinkles as possible. This promotes the comfort of the Client and helps to decrease skin break down. If the Client is able to get out of bed, encourage him/her to do so. Getting out of bed provides the Client with some exercise, relieves some pressure on the skin and makes it easier to make the bed.
Making an Occupied Bed
(These steps may have to be modified depending on the Client and situation.)
- Wash your hands. Explain to the Client what you are going to do.
- Place supplies on a clean area near the bed in the order you will use them.
- If possible, raise the bed to a comfortable working position.
- Lower the side rail on the side you will be working. Make sure the side rail on the other side is raised.
- Remove the bedspread and blanket. Keep the Client covered with the top sheet.
- Help the Client turn on his/her side away from you.
- Loosen the bottom linen on the side you are working and roll it toward the Client. Tuck the rolled linens along the Client's back.
- Place the clean sheet on the bed with centerfold at the center of the bed. Fold half of the sheet toward the Client and tuck this against his/her back (this is for the other half of the bed).
- Tuck the sheet under the mattress on the side of the bed where you are working. If it is a fitted sheet, fit it around the corners of the bed. If it is a flat sheet, you may need to miter the corners. Occasionally, some sheets have to be tied on the bed.
- Place a clean draw sheet on the bed with one half folded toward the Client and rolled along his back. The top edge of the draw sheet should be covered by the pillow to avoid pressure on the Client's shoulder blades. Tuck the draw sheet under the mattress on the side where you are working.
- Assist the Client to roll over the hump back toward you and onto the clean sheets.
- Make sure the side rail is raised on the side the Client is rolling to.
- Go to the opposite side of the bed. Lower the side rail on the side where you are working.
- Loosen the soiled linens on the side you are working and remove the soiled linens from the bed. Place into a container for soiled linen.
- Pull the clean sheets toward the edge of the bed on the side where you are working.
- Tuck the clean sheets under the mattress.
- Turn the Client onto his back. Change the pillowcase.
- Spread the clean top sheet over the Client. Tuck the clean top sheet under the mattress at the foot of the bed. Make sure the Client can move his/her feet freely.
- Place the blanket over the top sheet if the Client likes. Pull up the side rails.
- Position the Client comfortably. Put linens in proper place.
- If you have assistance, ask the other person to stand across from you. Both of you, grab the edges of the draw sheet firmly and on the count of three, at the same time, lift the Client to the level of the bed he or she is most comfortable.
- Wash your hands. Document bed making and any observations.