Texas CNA Skills (Part Fourteen): the Five-Surface Wash Cloth Method for Perineal Care

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Perineal care, commonly referred to as peri-care, is the routine care that nurses, nursing assistants and caregivers perform on clients’ genital areas and buttocks to maintain cleanliness, eliminate unpleasant odors, and reduce the microorganism count on this part of the body. Perineal care is a state-testable skill that might randomly appear on a candidate’s CNA state exam, so knowing how to do all steps properly is important.

It is crucial that nurse aides know how to perform perineal care correctly since the client’s perineal area has the potential of becoming infected if this skill is not done the right way. Proper perineal care promotes comfort, infection control, safety and privacy. When performing this skill, always provide for the client’s privacy and wipe from front to back to avoid introducing germs from the anus and buttocks into the urinary tract.

Since the client’s comfort should be kept in mind throughout the procedure, be very gentle and careful when performing perineal care because this part of the body can be extremely sensitive to extremes in touch and temperature. The necessary supplies to perform this skill include a pair of gloves, a wash basin, lukewarm water, soap, six wash cloths, two bath towels, and two bed protectors (also known as ‘chucks’).

To maintain cleanliness and prevent infections, take the extra time to use a new part of the wash cloth with each wipe to ensure that a clean area of the cloth is always being used. Legacy Healthcare Careers recommends the five-surface method for using wash cloths while providing perineal care at the CNA state test. If executed the right way, the five-surface method enables nurse aides to use five different parts of one wash cloth.

The five-surface method has a couple of benefits. First of all, it provides a clean part of the wash cloth for each wipe, and this is important for achieving a passing score on the perineal care skill at the CNA state exam. Second of all, it keeps the nurse aide from going through too many wash cloths, and this can be immensely helpful when working at a healthcare facility that experiences ongoing shortages of clean linens.

To use the five-surface method, get a wash cloth and fold it in half, then fold it in half a second time to end up with a smaller wash cloth. Thereafter, hold the wash cloth with the four corners pointed upward. Use the first corner of the wash cloth to wipe one area. Then fold the first corner downward and wipe another area with the second corner. Continue to fold each corner until the back of the wash cloth, which will be used as the fifth wiping surface, is reached.

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In essence, the five-surface method purposely involves use of five different parts of the wash cloth for wiping the client while performing perineal care:

  • the first corner
  • the second corner
  • the third corner
  • the fourth corner
  • The back of the wash cloth

REFERENCES

Tanner, D. (2019). How to Give Perineal Care. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.caregiverology.com/perineal-care.html

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