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When patients have serious illnesses or disabilities, they may be confined to bed for a period of time. You can give patients bed baths, but they will also need their hair washed. Washing a patient’s hair in bed is a bit more complicated than giving a bed bath, but once you learn the proper technique it’s not that hard and does not take very long.

Position the patient on her back near the edge of the bed. Lower the head of the bed so she lies flat on her back.

Roll up three bath towels so they look like logs.

Spread out the garbage bag so it lies flat. Tuck one of the rolled up towels into the bottom of the garbage bag and put the other two rolled up towels inside the bag, one along each side. The bag will resemble a basin with one flat edge where the bag opens and three raised sides.

Remove the patient’s pillow from beneath her head and set it aside. Place the garbage bag under the patient’s head so that her head rests in the center of the basin and so the open, flat edge of the bag hangs slightly over the edge of the bed.

Fill a basin with warm water and place it, a cup or small pitcher, shampoo and two or more bath towels on a bedside table.

Position the empty trash can beneath the garbage bag where the bag hangs over the side of the bed. When you pour water over the patient’s hair, you want the water to run down the bag and into the trash can.

Use the cup or pitcher to pour water slowly and carefully over the patient’s hair. Ask her if the water temperature feels right to her and refill the basin if necessary to get the right temperature. Try not to get water in the patient’s eyes. You can place a folded washcloth over her eyes to help keep water out of them.

Use a small amount of shampoo to shampoo her hair once it is thoroughly wet. Lift the patient's head gently with one hand to wash the back of her head with your other hand.

Use the cup or pitcher to carefully and slowly pour water over the patient’s hair to rinse out the shampoo. Lift her head gently with one hand to rinse the back of her head. Refill the basin if you run out of water. Make sure you rinse all the shampoo out of her hair.

Remove the garbage bag from underneath the patient’s head and replace it with a dry towel. Use another dry towel to gently pat her hair dry. Blow dry her hair with a handheld hair dryer on a low setting if she would like you to do so.