Perineal Care of the Female Resident

Written by Hollie Finders, RN
Hollie Finders is a registered nurse with years of experience working in the health care field. She has degrees in both biochemistry and nursing. After working with patients of all ages, Hollie now specializes in pediatric intensive care nursing. Hollie’s LinkedIn

Perineal Care Procedure

Equipment needed: gloves, washbasin, soap, washcloths, bath towel, waterproof pad, and soiled laundry bag.

  1. Perform hand hygiene and put on gloves.
  2. Explain the procedure to the patient and ask for their assistance in following directions. Provide privacy.
  3. Raise the bed to a comfortable working height.
  4. Fill a basin with warm water. Ensure the water is a comfortable temperature.
  5. Assist the resident in spreading her legs.
  6. Gently clean around the perineal area, including the inner thighs and outside the labia.
  7. With one hand, separate the labia.
  8. With the other hand, wipe down the center of the inner labia with a soapy washcloth. Only wipe in a front to back motion.
  9. Using a clean area of the washcloth for each stroke, wipe from front to back on both sides of the vulva.
  10. Rinse the entire area with a clean washcloth. Pat dry with a bath towel.
  11. Assist the patient onto her side to expose the buttocks.
  12. Wash the buttocks and the anal area using the same front to back technique. Rinse and pat dry.
  13. If needed, change the linens and/or place a clean waterproof pad underneath the patient.
  14. Assist the resident into a comfortable position and lower the bed.
  15. Place all used washcloths, towels, and linens into a soiled laundry bag.
  16. Dispose of the water and clean the washbasin.
  17. Remove gloves and perform hand hygiene.
  18. Document the procedure in the patient’s chart and report any changes in the patient’s condition to the nurse.

Important Information

Perineal care should be performed during a bath, after using the bedpan, and/or after incontinence. Proper technique is important for maintaining hygiene, preventing infection, and avoiding skin breakdown. Because of the close proximity between a woman’s urethra, vagina, and anus, it is essential to only wipe in a front to back motion. Wiping in the opposite direction is associated with a greater risk for developing a urinary tract infection [1].

It is important to be respectful and professional when providing this care. Many patients find this procedure awkward and uncomfortable. If a patient is able to perform this care independently, then allow them to do so and provide them with privacy.

By: Hollie Finders RN



More Resources

Moving the Resident to the Side of the Bed

Residents are usually kept in the center of the bed for safety reasons. However, moving a resident to the side of the bed is an important step to take before turning a resident onto his or her side. Performing this action allows the resident to end up side lying in the center of the bed and not smashed up against the side rail.

Passive Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion exercises are used to help prevent or decrease contractures, improve flexibility of joints, and improve strength [1]. Bedridden patients as well as those with reduced mobility may greatly benefit from passive range of motion exercises. However, do not perform these exercises without an order to do so, as it may be contraindicated in certain situations.

Measuring the Apical Pulse

The apical pulse rate is the most accurate non-invasive measurement of heart rate because it is measured directly over the apex of the heart. Apical pulse is preferred in cases when the radial pulse is difficult to palpate, when the pulse is irregular, greater than 100 beats per minute, or less than 60 beats per minute when measured by other means (electronic, radial, etc.).

Perineal Care of the Male Resident

Perineal care should be performed during a bath, after using the bedpan, and/or after incontinence. Special care should be used when performing perineal care on an uncircumcised male. Failure to retract and wash the area under the foreskin can result in infection. Failure to return the foreskin to its normal position can result in paraphimosis.

Applying Restraints

Restraints have very strict guidelines for use due to the number of complications that can result. Use of restraints is associated with increased physical and psychosocial health issues. Restraints are only considered necessary when restraint-free alternatives have failed and the patient or others are at risk of harm without the restraints. It is illegal to use restraints for the staff’s convenience or to punish the patient.