Hair and skin care for BAME ICU patients
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Hair and skin care for BAME ICU patients

A pioneering nurse is helping patients to look and feel ‘amazing’ by personalising their hair and skincare with products tailored to them.

Nursing Standard. 37, 11, 6-6. doi: 10.7748/ns.37.11.6.s2

Published: 02 November 2022


Ginny Wanjiro (pictured), who has worked as an intensive care sister at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for ten years, told Nursing Standard she was inspired to start her project when she realised personal care items provided by the NHS did not work well for patients from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Ms Wanjiro recalled when she went home to Kenya after her father died and was worried about how he would look and how that might change how she would remember him. ‘When I got there, he looked amazing. He looked so young, he was shaven, his hair looked good. That is the face that always stays with me and that’s what I want to do for my patients’ relatives too,’ she said,

Ms Wanjiro said patients coming into ICU at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic ‘were not in good shape’ and the nursing team wanted to help them look and feel their best.

She said patients’ hair became mottled when they were lying down and often had to be cut away. Patients’ skin would also become cracked and dry, but the moisturiser available in the ICU often did not work with all skin types.

‘This is something that hit me hard. Most of the nurses used to run down to local shops to buy better combs and moisturiser with our own money,’ she added.

After convincing the trust to invest in better hair and skincare resources, Ms Wanjiro helped teach other nurses about proper care for afro-textured hair and skin.

The project pilot will run at the ICU until the end of the year and Ms Wanjiro hopes it will be rolled out to other trusts.

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