Continuous Bath Treatment for the Insane

During the 32 years that Rose was a patient at the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane, one of the primary ‘treatments’ she endured was the “continuous bath”. Here’s an example of the rules that Nurses were required to follow.


1.  The date, name of the Nurse in Charge and names of her Assistants, if any, to be entered.

2.  Temperature of the water is to be recorded in the book every 15 minutes. The temperature of the water should be kept at 94 degrees F. and on no account should this temperature be allowed to become higher.

3.  The physical condition of the patient is to be carefully watched and noticed. Any extreme redness of the face, cyanosis, blueness or loss of colour is to be noted. The pulse rate of the patient is to be recorded in the book at the same time that the temperature of the water is noted.

In case the patient is showing any alarming symptoms, the tub should be at once drained, the patient removed from the bath and the supervisor and Physicians notified.

4.  Conduct of the patient, such as noisiness, singing, shouting, mutism, suicidal attempts, should be noted; also any expression of delusions or evidence of hallucinations.

5.  When the Nurse in Charge leaves, the time of leaving shall be recorded in the book and the name of the Nurse taking over the charge, entered.

6.  Time of removal of patient from the bath is to be noted in the book and if removed for special reasons, the reason shall be indicated. After the bath the patient must be carefully dried and rubbed down so that a glowing is produced in the skin and precautions must be taken against the patient becoming chilled.

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