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My grandma's memory care facility just removed all of her toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant) from her bathroom and it is only available by request due to state regulations. I understand it can be a safety concern for some other residents. But, she is still very independent with toileting and we are struggling with the huge ick factor of her not being able to have soap to wash her hands after using the bathroom or before eating. The care facility is understaffed and often only 1 caregiver is available to help 14 residents. Even if she understood who she has to ask to get her soap and toiletries, she can't find them or they don't have time to help.

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Talk to the staff. She might be able to have hand wipes or baby wipes to keep near her toilet. Otherwise, ask staff to escort her to the bathroom and make sure she adequately cleans her hands.
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bundleofjoy Mar 30, 2022
hugs! :)

"Otherwise, ask staff to escort her to the bathroom and make sure she adequately cleans her hands."

as OP wrote:
"she can't find them or they don't have time to help"
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I agree with ClairesMum. I carry antibacterial wipes with me everywhere I go. These ought to be acceptable in a Memory care facility, as should personal/feminine wipes.

Is your Mom allowed to have bar soap in her bathroom?

I have seen "soap strips" sold on the internet. The come in a plastic pack. As I remember, they are not individually wrapped. All you do is remove one strip, run the water and it lathers up. Rinse your hands and dry.

I also have a mother who needs Memory care and was informed by the Sales Director that things like mouthwash are kept locked. You must ask for assistance to gain access. I didn't sit well with me, but it is a rule NY State issued.
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I believe the brand is Honest. They make toiletries that are safe if digested.
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That’s not enough help for all those patients! Next time you go there, you ask for all the toiletries she needs & show your mother..you & mother will together put them in bathroom …or in underneath cabinets in bathroom. ..where she’ll be able to get to them. I wonder if Health Dept should be called? Hugs 🤗
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A wall dispenser seems good. My husband has tried to eat a bar of soap so we switched to a pump. He still needs supervision as occasionally he thinks it's a water bottle and will try to drink out of it. Best of luck!
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Antibacterial hand wipes should be ok, along with soap in a wall dispenser.
Toothpaste - there used to be tooth powders. not sure if they are still made, or would be accepted. Would the tiny travel sizes of items be acceptable to keep in her room?
The lack of staffing does effectively limit access to hygiene care items, so I'd politely take it up the chain of command at the facility, even to the regional manager, asking for their help in finding a way to improve access to these items. Not to overturn the policy, but to make it possible for a resident to receive the items within 10 minutes of requesting.....and have they started hand washing or using wipes of hands for all residents before they gather in the dining area for meals? Infection control is important. Politely persistent and complimenting what the facility does well can help keep communication going. Good luck.
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Even if she eats her own waste from dirty hands, she can still get sick. Let alone whatever old lady she offers a cookie to or vice versa during socialization. This is grossly unsanitary not to have soap and at this point I’d call the news
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Does the memory care provide soap ? My mothers does, (wall dispenser) along with paper toweling, and toilet paper. Is it a cost cutting measure the facility has installed?

Talk to the administrator…
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I would be filing complaints with every regulatory and licensing agency that controls MC facilities.

You can research how many caregivers are required BY LAW to be available for patients. There are strict minimum ratios and I can't imagine that 1 to 14 for MC is allowed in any jurisdiction.

Grandma needs to be moved to a better facility but, file those complaints. That's the only was this kind of crap gets changed.
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That’s horrendous ! Soap is a basic hygiene need! I’m surprised with covid and all that they are doing this!

As others have suggested, I’d want to see that regulation and report this place.

Are you able to install one to be fitted to the wall with automatic dispenser? They sell the automated ones at the shop, would just need something to attach to wall. Those photo frame adhesive strips could do. They are removable.

But ugh,.. even the not having toothpaste and deodorant!

Those are my mums basic requirements. Soap, toothpaste and deodorant. All mild but still.
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Agree that I'd ask to SEE the 'state regulation' that forbids residents to have these basic hygiene items in your grandmother's room! Sounds like B.S. to me, frankly. Now, if these items were under lock and key in a cabinet inside of her room, that would be a different matter entirely. But to disallow such items like soap to be available is ludicrous. My mother lived in a memory care AL for almost 3 years, and I worked in one for over a year, and NEITHER AL prevented the residents from having soap/shampoo or toothpaste in their rooms. The residents who wound up eating things they weren't supposed to had those toiletries locked up in their bathroom cabinets.

Having 1 caregiver for 14 residents is also unacceptable. Period. The Memory Care AL can use an AGENCY to hire several caregivers on a daily basis, as needed to make up for lack of permanent staff, until permanent employees can be hired. As all of the rest of these facilities do on a regular basis. There is NO EXCUSE for the lack of caregivers working at grandma's facility. OR for this nonsense about no basic hygiene products 'being allowed' in her bathroom. It's a bunch of bologna.

Ask to see the state regulation stating such a thing and then call the Ombudsman while you look for a different MC to place grandma in. That's what I'd do if I were in your position. They're making up excuses as they go along and that's NOT okay.

Good luck!
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First of all a memory care facility who has a one caregiver per fourteen residents should be reported to the state. One person cannot successfully provide care for fourteen people with dementia.
Your family should start looking for a better place to move your grandmother to if the place she's at now is so sub-standard in quality that they consider soap and water, the most basic of human hygiene, to be a safety risk to their residents. That is absolutely disgusting. They should be shut down at once or forced to improve their care standards to a level of fair and decent.
If your grandmother is not crapping in a diaper and can still use a toilet independently and wipe her own a**, she will also be able to handle washing her own hands with soap. Not allowing a person to wash their hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom is unhygienic and unsafe for not just that person, but everyone else. That person is touching things. They are in contact with others. They are eating. Diseases such as e.coli are spread this way and many others.
Please, I most strongly recommend you report this memory care facility to the state immediately.
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This sounds suspiciously like a fat-headed, ham-fisted distortion of a regulation designed to prevent accidental injuries but practised so as to result in an atrocious restriction of self-care. It must be a travesty. I should follow the steps Barb suggests.

Meanwhile - you can get some reasonably good hand-wipes, Tena make some, there will be various reliable brands. If those are confiscated too then there's nothing for it but to start stamping and shouting to get this stupid policy reversed. I feel disgusted on your poor grandmother's behalf.
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BurntCaregiver Mar 26, 2022
Preach, Countrymouse. It does sound like a fat-headed, ham-fisted distortion of a regulation to prevent accidental injuries.
It sounds kind of like a 'zero tolerance' policy to me and we all know that 'zero tolerance' simply translates to zero thinking.
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I would ask to be shown the "State reg" they are referring to.

I would call the ombudsman and my local elected officials if this is true.
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Clairesmum Apr 8, 2022
In CA, it is part of DPH regulations for memory care locked units, and there is a reason for it. Wandering patients can get into all sorts of mischief, especially with such minimal staffing.
I saw the regulation enforced at different times - when a corporate safety review is due, when a state survey is expected soon, when there is a new resident on the unit who wanders and has already shown a propensity for mouthing non food objects, and when there is a reported episode of accidental poisoning in an elder in the area, or in another facility under the same management tea.
Have also seen it completely ignored.
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dear OP,
:)

“memory care facility just removed all of her toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant) from her bathroom”

terrible.
i totally understand your concern.

“we are struggling with the huge ick factor of her not being able to have soap to wash her hands after using the bathroom or before eating”

exactly.
very unhygienic and can lead to many illnesses.

“I understand it can be a safety concern for some other residents. But, she is still very independent with toileting”

totally agree.
i think it’s awful they made 1 rule for everyone.

“she has to ask to get her soap and toiletries, she can't find them or they don't have time to help.”

exactly.
awful.
actually i would even call it a form of torture (not having access to basic hygiene products).
it’s serious.

even prisoners have access to basics.

like you said OP, i also understand, sometimes for some people, it’s a safety issue.

but—
your mother is very independent in that field.

———
AND if they take away access, they must give access when your mother asks.

but as you said, they’re understaffed.

so the reality, is that they’re NOT giving access.

hence, a form of torture.
as i said, even prisoners have access.

———

i’m sure you’ve already asked MC, which alternative products are allowed.

there are powders—but i think from a safety point of view, that’s much less safe.

i hope very soon, you find solutions.

“available by request due to state regulations”

terrible—so it’s like this in that whole state.

hug!!!
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How about antibacterial hand wipes? Are those allowed?
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bundleofjoy Mar 26, 2022
good idea!! i hope that’s allowed.

as for brushing your teeth (such a good mental feeling for many people), i’m really shocked and feel terrible for them, that they don’t have access (access only upon request; but it’s hard to get the request fulfilled since there’s not much staff).
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