Sometimes there’s just no way round raising the delicate matter of personal hygiene

Jane Bates on when duty of care to a preoperative patient has to trump your blushes
illustration of man holding his nose

When your duty of care to a preoperative patient has to trump your blushes – and theirs

Don’t you just hate having The Conversation? A patient arrived for eye assessment and – how can I put it – they were less than fragrant.

You didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce what they had eaten for the previous few meals because much of it was embedded in their woolly cardie.

Telling someone they look and smell like Worzel Gummidge is of course out of the question, so how do you tackle this without causing offence? The hygiene issue needed to be addressed urgently because the patient’s eye surgery was imminent, so I had to muster all my tact and have The Conversation.

‘Years ago, there was no toe-curling discussion to be endured because we washed the patients ourselves’


Want to read more?

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?