Trachs & Showering

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PrayingforGrace

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How do most people with ALS get showers and such? Do you have modified bathrooms with special chairs? How are your bathrooms set up? Do you take bed baths? Are you able to Shower with a trach?
I've heard conflicting reports on all this so I thought i'd ask people that are in similar situations.
Thanks
 

quadbliss

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Hi PrayingforGrace,

I have a PEG and trach, and although we currently do only bed baths (for the last four years), we are in the process of having a track lift system installed. This will allow me to take baths/showers. There is no problem with the PEG, but I intend to wear a special collar over the trach. :-D

Mike
 

Carolan

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Whatever you do, don't use a ventilator tubing circuit as an improvised shower head. :twisted:

Seriously, though, my mother has just been getting bed baths. She is about to receive her power wheelchair, and then we might start to use her shower chair again. An actual overhead shower with a trach would make me nervous, unless it was an instance where the trach incision could be covered with a plug, but this isn't an option for ventilator-dependent people. Among other things, I would worry about the pressure of the water causing the tubing to pop off.

Other useful things to know: You can get pre-moistened cleansing cloths at most pharmacies. Look in the bath section with soap, etc. They come in rectangular soft plastic packages with a dispenser opening on the top. This is good for days when a full bath would be too exhausting. Also, there is a shampoo that comes in a spray can. You can wrap a plastic bag around your scalp and then massage the shampoo into the scalp. Kind of like "no water" shampoo for dogs.

While we are on the hygiene subject, zinc oxide cream is good for bedsores. Desitin baby cream is usually the easiest to find, but it has a strong smell and is hard to clean off. We use baby wipes for cleaning in sensitive areas.
 

northerngirl

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a more personal question

would a cathader (spelling?) at night be safer than getting up 3 or 4 times to use the commode. Mom's legs are getting so weak and it's had for dad. her arms arm done . WE got to get mom in to an ALS clinic for some of these questions but it takes weeks or months.
 

quadbliss

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Hi northerngirl,

Unfortunately your mom, being female, would require an in-dwelling catheter. This type can't be removed daily. Some women have persistent UTIs with catheters, but others really like them. It might be worth a try.

Mike
 

Carolan

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You can get a female urinal thing that is kind of like an external catheter. My mom has a catheter--one of those that is on the inside--but she hates it. The problem with the female urinal is that your mother would need to have very good bladder control because it's not always attached. We are working on bladder exercises so that my mom might eventually be able to have the internal catheter removed. She does have lots of urinary tract infection problems because the home nurses don't always clean her thoroughly enough. One other hassle is that there is a bag for holding the urine--and that has to travel with her. An advantage to the bag, though, is that it's easy to track fluid intake/output to monitor retention. You might also think about a bedpan or diapers if you are just concerned about nighttime.
 
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