Spa Day for the Pubic Zone...Seriously!
Life or Death?
Let me give you the scoop on the poop!
I want to take you on a journey to a region of the body few dare to talk about…the “Pubic Zone”!
I work in a hospital as many of you know as a Critical Care Technician. One of my responsibilities to my patients is to keep their back sides, and front sides squeaky clean during their stay in the hospital.
Many sick and elderly patients are incontinent (they urinate or poop in their bed on pads) or have catheters inserted into their urethras to remove urine from their bodies. Pooping for them is still an issue especially if they cannot use a bed pan.
You may be starting to wonder what the heck this woman is doing in the “Pubic Zone” talking about Poop and Urine!
All I can say is “I beg you to stay with me a tad bit longer”!
According to the Centers of Disease and Control (CDC) when comparing statistics to crash fatalities, hospitalized patients are 2.4 times more likely to die from a hospital-acquired infection than they are from a road accident.
· Approximately 850,000 infections are classified as catheter-associated infections (CAIs).
· 50,000 of those infections are categorized by the CDC surveillance criteria as catheter related to the exposure of bacteria.
· The majority of these infections are associated with central intravenous catheters.
· The case fatality rate is more than 20% (10,000 deaths/50,000 cases).
· The attributed mortality is 35%, (attributed mortality essentially means that of those patients who undergo intravenous catheter therapy and develop complications and subsequently die, 35% of the cause of his/her death can be attributed to the presence of the intravenous catheter.
So What Can You Do???
· Spa day for the “Pubic Zone”! Ladies and gentlemen pubic hair was not meant to grow down to your knees. Keep it trimmed. Short hair is easier to clean of poop and urine then hairs that are 3-4 inches long. Bacteria love to grow in wet moist places!!! Get the picture!
· If a female relative is hospitalized requiring catheter insertion speak to her nurse about the condition of your mom’s or aunt’s “Pubic Zone”. If necessary request that the hair be trimmed to a shorter length. We as health care workers cannot trim hair in that “ZONE” unless it is surgically related or with the expressed consent of the patient or family member in charge.
· If visiting a family member is a health care setting whether it is a Nursing Home, or Hospital you can inquire when the last time your relative received perennial care (cleaning of the “Pubic Zone”). It should be done at least once a day as part of the overall bathing process for bed rest patients, and more frequently if the patient is incontinent.
· Patient who have catheters require the same “Pubic Zone” care and more. The catheter itself should be cleaned 4 inches from the site of insertion. There should be no evidence of dried blood, puss, or stool on that portion of the catheter. More importantly there should be no build-up of stool around the site of catheter insertion, which is so easy to happen given the female anatomy’s design in the “Pubic Zone”! You have the right to ask to see how clean the area is in that “Zone” as an Advocate for your family member. Remember we are talking life or death here.
· Rely on your nose!!! The nose always knows if something is amiss. Your loved one’s room should not smell of urine or poop. The strong scent of ammonia usually means there is urine some place it shouldn’t be!
· If the patient was recently cleaned with padding changed the trash should be bagged and removed from the room. Think about it…who wants to sleep in bed next to a waste bin full of urine and poop soaked materials! Yuck!!!
Being an Advocate for the sick and elderly is an important job for each of us. Sometimes it is easy to assume the right things are being done for our loved ones, but the truth is it doesn’t happen all the time.
With the rising costs of health care and baby boomers marching toward the finish line in the not so distant future the basic standard of care needs to improve for us all not just the elderly!
I address the “Pubic Zone” from my daily experiences as a Health Care Associate. I get visibly upset at the lack of care my eyes have witnessed, it truly saddens me.
I implore each of you to take the initiative to act not only as your own Advocate but as an extended one to anyone you know who resides in a Health Care Facility.
There is an African proverb and a subsequent book that was written titled “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”, the sequel could be “It Takes a Country to Provide Quality Health Care for the Sick and Dying”!
We can all do our part no matter how small…don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and get involved!
You have the Patient’s Bill of Rights on your side.
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