A spica cast or body cast is utilized in managing children with hip, leg or pelvic issues. For most, it can be overwhelming to care for and clean the cast. On the other hand, caring for a spica cast is not a difficult task.
Caring for a spica cast
The proper care for a spica cast includes proper drying, cleaning, prevention of infections and other issues as well as knowing when to consult a doctor. In addition, you should be able to position the child properly in the cast.
Drying the cast
If the spica cast is made from plaster, it requires time to dry after it is first put on. The child should be in a semi-sitting position and you should assist him/her move. Turn the child a minimum of every 2 hours during the initial 24-48 hours to prevent irregular drying out of the cast. A fan can be used to allow the cast to dry rapidly. If you tap on the cast and a hollow sound is produced, it is dry.
Keeping the cast clean and dry
Clean the spica cast and keep it dry. Remember that the cast can end up dirty or wet every now and then.
The following preventive measures and cleaning options must be carried out when needed:
- If the child wears a diaper, a smaller size should be used especially the disposable variants. Cut off the adhesive tabs so that they will not irritate the skin and tuck the diaper inside the cast starting at the rear and move to the front. Make sure that the plastic side of the diaper faces the cast while the absorbent side is next to the skin. The diaper must be changed as soon as possible after the child urinates or has a bowel movement.
- For bigger children, use a bedpan. Place the child in a semi-sitting position where the torso and head are higher than the lower body. Slowly turn the child onto one side and slide the bedpan beneath his/her bottom. Make sure that the skin is dry and clean after using the bedpan.
- Heavily-soiled areas of the spica cast must be cleaned to reduce odor. Use a moist cloth with or without cleanser when wiping the dirty areas. Scrub toothpaste on the soiled areas to eliminate odors. Try to use cloth with minimal water as possible to clean the cast.
- Provide the child with a daily sponge bath. Remember not to get the spica cast wet. Use a moist cloth and clean the exposed skin as well as under the edges of the cast. Get rid of small-sized crumbs or other particles under the cast.