5.2.2 General Guidelines for Dressing and Undressing

Clients with physical limitations will require dressing techniques that will allow them to safely dress/undress without pain or discomfort. When assisting a client with dressing and undressing, you must be careful to implement several practices.

When considering how best to support your client, you should base your approach on the movement range they have and the parts of the body that may be compromised, while keeping in mind the body capabilities, body mechanics and comfort of the client. Knowledge of your client is required to make these decisions. If you are not familiar with your client, it is a good idea to consult with other members of the health care team and to speak directly with your client prior to assisting them.

When beginning the undressing or dressing process, follow these steps:

  1. Explain the procedure to the client.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Involve the client as much as possible. For instance, encourage the client to choose what clothing and accessories they want to wear.
  4. Gather the client’s clothing choices, including clean undergarments, prior to undressing the client, in order to keep your client as warm as possible.
  5. Provide privacy by closing the room door, pulling the curtain closed, or assisting in the bathroom behind a closed door.
  6. When the client has a physical limitation involving the extremities, support the extremity while dressing or undressing. Always undress the unaffected side first and dress the affected side first.
  7. Don’t forget to check whether a client requires any assistive devices, such as protheses, dentures, orthopedic insoles, glasses, hearing aids, or mobility aids.
A senior woman knits while seated at a table by a window.
This woman has chosen to wear a comfortable and warm jacket, and she keeps her glasses with her so she can work on her hobbies.

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