Answering the OASIS-C questions regarding dressing and bathing can be tough, especially since your patient is likely to doubt your intentions and will typically grade him or herself significantly higher than you (or the OASIS) might find appropriate.
So what's the answer? How do we ascertain the truth of someone's ability to dress and bathe themselves--yet do it quickly, and accurately in a way that they won't object to?
One informal and effective way to assess dressing and/or bathing quickly is with the use of a Theraband (preferably red or yellow). Begin by cutting a 20" piece and then tie it in a knot creating a loop. Next, ask your patient to grab the loop and pull it over their entire body from their head on down past their feet.
What pray tell does this arbitrary test show?
Well, it shows many of the components necessary to dress and bathe without asking someone to show you the often complicated, private, and timely process’. It doesn't require that a person take off any clothes, and yet it will tell you rapidly if they have the range of motion in their arms, the fine motor control in their hands, and the coordination necessary to perform those skills without assistance. This test also has the ability to show you valuable information about an individual’s balance if they try it standing up. It will show you lower body reaching abilities, trunk flexion range of motion, and essential components for ascertaining someone’s true ability to bathe themselves. If they are unable to bring the band around their feet either standing or sitting, then you can fairly assume that they are not bathing their lower body if they don’t possess adaptive equipment. As reaching your feet is an important component of the bathing and dressing processes.
So in one quick test, you can identify numerous troublesome areas that will inform your answers on not only the dressing section of the oasis; but potentially bathing, grooming, and even toileting if you deconstruct the root skills necessary for their successful completion.
Remember that the proof is in the puddin’ and that talk is cheap. Especially, when someone’s willing to say anything to avoid returning to the hospital or SNF. Make sure you let your patients know that you’re on their side and that it’s your job to determine an accurate picture of their overall function so that you can help them return to their optimal function with the aid of your interdisciplinary team. Use your eyes to inform your answers on the OASIS as you ascertain ability and recommend further services or adaptive equipment to address whatever deficits you may find.