Nursing Home/ Hair Care Filter: How can I wash her hair without actually washing it?
December 12, 2008 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Nursing Home/ Hair Care Filter: How can I wash her hair without actually washing it? Is it possible to help my bedridden mother keep her hair clean without washing it?

Long story short, my mom who is mobility impaired fell down about a month ago; she broke her leg and badly bruised her tail bone in the process. The break was bad enough to require surgery and now she is bedridden for the next 2 months. Until 2 weeks ago she was in the hospital which fortunately had a on site salon which provided in room/ in bed services such as shampoo and style for a nominal fee. For the time being she is in a nursing home, recovering from her surgery and waiting for her leg to heal. So until she can bear weight on that leg and begin rehabilitation they (the nursing home staff) are giving her bed baths but they do not do anything about her hair.

How can I keep her hair clean for 2 months without actually being able to wash it? I've heard of dry shampoos but I am under the impression that it is not a long term solution. Am I wrong in this assumption? Also if dry shampoo is the answer to this conundrum, where would I find it and which brand should I get?
posted by lrkuperman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Would someone working at the hospital salon be willing to come to the nursing home (for a fee) and show you how to do it?
I'm guessing it involves some sort of pan with a groove/slot for the neck to rest in, so that your mom's head is over the water while she lies in bed. Just a guess!
Good luck, and a speedy recovery to your mom. She's lucky to have such a thoughtful child.
posted by nprigoda at 8:56 AM on December 12, 2008

Best answer: I used to care for a quadriplegic woman and we did all of her bathing in-bed. We used an inflatable bed basin like this which involved some care, a little finagling, and a lot of towels, but it's absolutely something you could do yourself.

We washed her hair once a week -- maybe you can do the same, and supplement with a good brushing/dry shampoo another once or twice a week. I don't have any experience with dry shampoos so I can't recommend any in particular, but Sarah from Hair Thursday has some good dry shampoo suggestions here.
posted by kate blank at 8:56 AM on December 12, 2008

Even though she cannot put weight on her leg - I assume she can rotate and change her position in bed. If so, it shouldn't be too difficult to use a large pitcher, a bucket and some shampoo to wash her hair in bed. I think this would be the best, especially if she is bed ridden for 2 months, the comfort of having your hair washed would probably do wonders for her psyche. FIND A WAY!

If this absolutely isn't an option, Bumble and Bumble makes a decent dry shampoo - however, it is usually pricey.

see this link for amazon bumble and bumble pricing :
posted by Brettus at 8:57 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just found this description of how it's done. Judging by the tiny, poor-quality picture, it seems like I was right about the pan.
posted by nprigoda at 8:58 AM on December 12, 2008

I was given one of these all-in-one shampoo cap things once. Maybe it would work out.
posted by lorrer at 9:02 AM on December 12, 2008

a light dusting of baking soda will absorb the oil that makes the hair look greasy, then you brush it out. Light dusting is the key. This could be a good interim solution if she's feeling gross.
posted by agentwills at 9:24 AM on December 12, 2008

A little bit of baby powder could do the trick.
posted by Baud at 9:36 AM on December 12, 2008

When my dad was in the hospital for over a month, they used all-in-one shampoo cap things like lorrer mentioned. You don't need any water, and it actually gets your hair clean (as opposed to just adding powder or something). Plus having someone use it on you is basically like a head massage - dad loved it. I don't know how well it would work if your mom has really long hair, but it's worth a shot.
posted by vytae at 9:50 AM on December 12, 2008

Best answer: When I was hospitalized for some surgery several years ago, my wife bought a bottle of this No-Rinse Shampoo for me and it worked very well without any water or rinsing involved.

I also notice that they sell a body wash product as well. That would have been useful for me, and perhaps might fill another bill for your mother.
posted by briank at 9:56 AM on December 12, 2008

My grandma was in the hospital for several days and at some point used one of the shampoo-in-a-cap things that lorrer linked to. She loved them so much she gave one to all her grandkids (!) as a Christmas present. Weird, but she thinks they're just awesome.
posted by peep at 9:59 AM on December 12, 2008

Nthing the shower-in-a-cap thing. They rule.
posted by Gianna at 10:23 AM on December 12, 2008

There are other dry shampoos on Amazon that run a bit cheaper, namely Psssssst. This stuff has been around forever; I remember my mother having to use this on my grandmother when she was hospital-bound in the 70's.
posted by xena at 11:35 AM on December 12, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the great answers! I found that I will be able to order one of the inflatable shampoo basins that nprigoda and kate blank had mentioned from Sears. In the mean time I am going to go by Walgreens and Sally's Beauty Supply to see if I can find something to tide us over until the tub arrives.
posted by lrkuperman at 11:41 AM on December 12, 2008

Gosh, when you spoke with the nursing home staff, did they actually say that no one would be available to clean your mother's hair for two months? This sounds like some form of neglect. (I'm not criticizing you, I'm just grumbling on your behalf.)

From my own experience: My father lived in a nursing home with dementia for the last four-1/2 years of his life. This facility had a hairdresser that would come in a few days a week to provide the services needed. My mother rotated between a couple hospitals and several care centers during the last year of her life. I know that when she was not bed-bound, they shampooed her hair when they helped her bathe; I'm not sure what provision was made during the time she was bed-bound.

Anyhow, I remember using that Psssssst stuff that xena mentioned. My mom used to have it for times when she was laid up at home.
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:00 PM on December 12, 2008

I know this is your mother, and you love her, but maybe if you could find a blank spray bottle and switch in some of this waterless shampoo.

If you mom has a sense of humor or is a pet lover, you don't even need to switch to a mystery bottle.

You will notice a lot of horse shampoo products at Sally Beauty - that all happened years after humans were using them. Same deal with this stuff.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:27 PM on December 13, 2008

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