Diapering an adult

Having to clean and diaper an adult is perhaps the most unconformable task of caring for a loved one. Yet with preparation you can make this easier and preserve the patient’s dignity.

It is unlikely the patient is very mobile, so use safe body mechanics to avoid injury. It is safest and easiest to care for patients who are using a hospital bed.

You will need the following handy.

  • Disposable medical gloves
  • A clean adult diaper
  • A plastic trash or grocery bag
  • Pre-moistened wipes or skin cleaner and disposable cloths
  • Barrier cream

Wash and dry your hands thoroughly and put on a pair of disposable medical gloves.

If the patient's bed is adjustable, raise the entire bed to a comfortable height (usually slightly lower than your hips). Lower the head of the bed flat or as far down as the patient can tolerate.

With the patient lying on their back, unfasten the tape or straps of the adult diaper and then tuck the side farthest from you under the person's hip.

With one hand on the patient's hip and the other on the shoulder, roll the patient away from you onto their side. Be sure to have the side rails up on the far side to avoid rolling patient out of bed. If another person is available have them hold the patient in place while you clean them.

Pull the adult diaper toward you and out from under the patient. To contain the mess, roll the used diaper inward as you remove it.

Place the soiled adult diaper into a plastic trash bag for disposal.

Using pre-moistened wipes, or skin cleanser and disposable cloths, clean the person's diaper area, front and back, as thoroughly as possible. Avoid pressing or rubbing the skin too hard. You might need to roll the patient onto their back or other side to thoroughly clean areas you cannot reach. Place used wipes or cloths in the plastic trash bag.

While you are cleaning the patient, check the skin for pressure sores, which are also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers. It is important to check the skin daily for any early signs that a pressure sore has begun. If you see any, please report it to your RN Case Manager.

Apply barrier cream to the patient's perineum to moisturize and protect the skin.

Allow the patient's skin to dry completely, then roll up one side of the new adult diaper and tuck it under the patient’s side. Flatten and position the rest of the diaper on the bed.

Roll the person back toward you and onto the diaper and then pull out the rolled-up side of the diaper. Smooth any wrinkles and fasten the adult diaper as directed.

Remove your disposable medical gloves, pulling from the wrist and turning inside out and place them in the plastic trash bag before tying it closed.

Put up siderail, return the bed to the desired height and raise the head of the bed to make the patient comfortable. Cover them with the sheet and blanket for their desired level of warmth.

Use hand sanitizer, or wash and dry your hands thoroughly.

Remove your gloves if they get soiled during the cleaning and discard in trash bag. Wash your hands and put clean gloves on to continue.

These videos are produced by Angelic Health solely for educational purposes. The information included is not a substitute for professional medical advice. All content including, text, graphics, images and communication is for general information purposes only and is not all - encompassing. Discuss your questions and concerns with your Case Manager or call Angelic Health at 609-822-7979 anytime.