Incontinence is Common- The Number 1 Tip for Caregivers and Professionals
Incontinence is common in all individuals regardless or age, gender, or level of wellness.
What is so unique about urinary and fecal incontinence? The abdominal muscles, nerves, and organs, make urinary and fecal incontinence a complicated matter to fix. A caregiver for someone with severe incontinence understands the need for specialty products designed just for them.
The good news is that there are products out there designed for severe incontinence issues. In this second part of a two part series, I am going to discuss the incontinence supplies best designed for a caregiver to use for a patient to help that patient, and caregiver, live their best life.
Incontinence is not about just changing a diaper. It encompasses changing the incontinence product, cleaning the skin, applying barrier ointments or antifungals, or both, to the skin, tending to any skin breakdown, and then making sure the patient is comfortable. These multiple steps become routine and routine sometimes leads to missing important signs that a product is not working properly.
Sometimes the routine leads us to miss that a better product is available to use only because that new product is unfamiliar. Or sometimes being a caregiver is overwhelming and the routine is the easiest way to get the job done.
No matter what stage of caregiving you are in, if you are overwhelmed, or beginning to feel overwhelmed, that's when you should call and ask for help.
And that's our number 1 tip:
If you are not sure what kind of product your patient needs, then ask!
A good wholesale medical supply company will be able to answer all your questions and find you the product that best fits. If you are not sure what you need as a caregiver, they will recommend products like gloves, barrier ointments, and more, to get you started. No one should judge you as a caregiver because you ask for help. In fact, you will (hopefully) be praised for it!
So what are the product recommendations for caregivers?
The super and ultra incontinence products offer the most dryness and prevent skin breakdown.
They are made with adjustable tabs for multiple changes or fittings. They are designed with cues for the caregiver, like blue stripes when the diaper is soiled. The bed-ridden or bed-bound products will be the premium products for your patient. It all depends on what setting your patient is in and what access you have for their care.
Are you simply an employee caregiver? Do you have access to the patient's finances, or can you make suggestions that might differ financially from the ones given to you? The cost range of medical supplies is wide depending on what function those products serve. As in all things, there are tiers suitable for everyone.
Patients who are in a nursing home usually have different circumstances than someone who lives at home. A person in a nursing home has limited motor skills so actions like getting to the toilet, or even getting up from a chair, are difficult.
Nursing home patients are unique. The change rate is higher than for someone changing themselves. This prevents skin breakdown and infections. Patients are changed during rounds and not necessarily right when a diaper is soiled.
The adult incontinence products for nursing homes work by absorbing large quantities of liquid. These products remain together after re-wetting. The patient wears a diaper to make changes easier on the caregiver, and an underpad sits under the patient to prevent any leaks.
If you are a caregiver in a person’s home, you may have more choice for what type of incontinence product your charge uses, so take advantage of the medical supply company's advice. Better incontinence products on the front end lead to healthier patients throughout.
There are also reusable products, like underpads, available, that are machine washable. Bed-ridden or bed-bound products are top of the line in their ability to breathe and be comfortable.
Working as a caregiver in a nursing home or in a private home comes with its own set of unique skills.
While caregivers work hard to keep patients healthy, they still have questions of their own. They might not have time to get to every medical catalogue that comes through. Manufacturers develop new incontinence solutions and products every few months.
If you are a caregiver who is feeling overwhelmed, take heart. You are not alone. And there is at least one company out there designed to help.