Objective: This study aimed to systematically analyze the experience-based knowledge and skills among expert nurses with regard to hand bathing given to stroke patients.
Methods: In total, 20 nurses from rehabilitation and acute stroke wards were interviewed on the purpose, methods, and effects of hand bathing, as well as their observations of the medical conditions of patients receiving hand bathing.
Results: The results indicated that hand bathing not only provided hygiene care for stroke patients but also served to improve edema, improve and prevent contractures, promote awareness of the affected side, “stimulate consciousness, and promote communication. The purposes of hand bathing for stroke patients varied depending on whether the patient was in the acute or convalescent stage. Most nurses mentioned that it allowed them to monitor edema and hand skin and nail condition, whereas many also mentioned that it allowed them to monitor words and actions, numbness and pain, and facial expression. Nurses also checked patients’ sensory perceptions on their healthy sides before soaking their hands in warm water.
Conclusions: Hand bathing has integrative effects, providing both thermal stimulation and acting as a medium to deliver other care, such as massage and exercise. Our study results should be verified to confirm the broader applications of hand bathing to patients with cerebrovascular disease.