Issues concerning hygiene in individuals with hemiplegia can vary from the physical problems of trying to provide self care with one hand to the cognitive issues of remembering and comprehending certain aspects of personal care.
Setting up and remembering a routine is important. Picture charts for younger children are simple and inexpensive. Adding reminders into your phone may be helpful or simply hang a check list on your bathroom mirror. Doing things in the same order each day will help you remember all the steps.
Stressing importance of hygiene
Many times children or young adults with cognitive impairments are unaware or don’t care about social customs. Modeling behavior (“Oh look, I took my hat off and my hair’s messy, I should go comb it”) and praising when they are meeting expectations (“Look how nicely you matched your clothes today”) are both tried and true methods. Award charts can also help.
Keeping a calendar will help girls realize when they need to keep feminine products on hand.
Integrating these issues into IEP’s as well as home
Remember that independent life skills are as important as reading and writing. Seek out assistance on integrating these into your child’s school curriculum.
Use flushable wipes when needed as they clean more completely and easier.
A spray bottle can be filled with water and sprayed toward those hard to reach places (this also helps young women clean during menses).
Bathtub safety is a must.
Non-slip mats or stickers on the tub
A strong grab bar is also helpful when children start to bath or shower independently.
Baby wash clothes are thinner and easier to handle and wring out with one hand.
Squeeze bottles and soap dispensers in the shower to store soap and shampoo for one handed operation are also helpful. These are usually found at discount stores and have suction cups for installation.
A long handled sponge that holds soap and water may be useful.
Toothpaste in the upright containers may work for some individuals. You may need to velcro it to the counter. You can either use your affected hand to pump it or place the toothbrush on the counter and learn to aim well! You might place the tube of toothpaste on the counter and press it down your affected fist, holding toothbrush in your unaffected hand. Sensory issues may make you forget one side of your mouth, so make sure you pay attention to both sides.
Recommendations from young women:
Wet/dry electric razor
Gillette Sensor Excel razor
Hair removal creams like Nair