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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2093

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1883
THE SICK-ROOM

the bed. She will avoid drying or airing anything damp in the sick-room. A small bed, or rather a narrow one, is best for an invalid, for if he has to be moved it is far easier for the nurse to manage it than on a wide one. A hair or wool mattress is better than a feather bed.

Changing Sheets.—There are several ways of changing sheets, but perhaps there is no more simple and easy way than that of rolling up the dirty sheet lengthways in a narrow roll till it reaches the side of the patient, treating the clean sheet in the same way, that is, rolling it half-way across, leaving enough unrolled to replace the portion of the dirty sheet that has been folded. Place the clean roll by the side of the dirty one, in the manner shown in the illustration, and a very little shifting will take the patient over them, when the dirty sheet can be withdrawn and the clean one unrolled and spread in its place.

Under-sheets for a sick-bed should be small ones, only just large enough to tuck in at the sides, and should never be wound round the bolster.

A very hard pillow should be used as a foundation when it is necessary to make a pile for the patient to sit up in bed, as in cases of bronchitis.

For a helpless patient a draw-sheet is often needed, which may be made by folding a large sheet lengthways to about a yard wide. This should be laid across the middle of the bed over a mackintosh, with one end reaching only to the side of the bed, and the surplus at the other formed into a roll that can be unwound as the sheet is drawn from the other side. Be most careful to have this draw-sheet so firmly fixed with safety-pins or by being tucked under the mattress that it will not ruck or crease, and so cause great discomfort, if not pain, to the patient.

Fresh smooth sheets and cool pillows afford great comfort to most invalids, and a good nurse will be on the watch for opportunities of replacing a pillow and changing or smoothing a sheet when these offices can be performed without inconveniencing or disturbing her patient.

Invalid's Food.—"Patients," says a distinguished nurse, "are sometimes starved in the midst of plenty, from want of attention to the ways which alone make it possible for them to take food. A spoonful of beef-tea, or arrowroot and wine, or some other light nourishing diet, should be given constantly, for the patient's stomach will reject large supplies. In very weak patients there is often a nervous difficulty in swallowing, which is much increased if food is not ready and presented at the moment when it is wanted: the nurse should be able to discriminate, and know when this moment is approaching."

Never bring a large plateful to an invalid; let it be, if anything, rather less than more than you think he will take; a little can easily