A Caregiver's Guide to Incontinence Products

A Caregiver's Guide to Incontinence Products
If you are a caregiver in the position of helping someone with incontinence, it is important to understand the various options and products available, and how best to protect a loved one’s skin, dignity, and home.

The following is a Caregiver’s guide to incontinence products, and a list of questions to ask in order to get the best products for your loved one’s needs:

1. What kind of incontinence are you dealing with?
Urinary or fecal? The products you need will be determined by the type of incontinence. In some cases, you will need to prevent cross contamination because the person has both fecal and bladder incontinence. This means you will likely need more than just adult diapers, but also skin care items, gloves, disposal bags, and more. You can also call us at 800-985-1353 to talk with a product specialist. These nice ladies will help you figure out exactly what you need, and help you to not waste time or money.

2. How heavy is it and how often does your loved one need changing?
Changes should occur 3-5 times a day, depending on the severity of incontinence. Incontinence products are designed to meet a wide range of needs. Some products, like pads and guards are for those with only light leakage. Other products, such as briefs and pull on underwear are designed for heavier incontinence. In addition, some products are harder and easier to change. If your loved one needs frequent changing, a product with tabs or adjustable fasteners will be far easier to use than a pull on style product.

3. Are they able to assist you in changing? Are you helping care for someone who is non-ambulatory?
For the individuals who are non-ambulatory, adult diapers with adjustable tabs are necessary. If the individual can help with changing, there are more product options.

4. Are you considering skin care? In order to protect the skin there are three things that must be done: The individual needs to wear the right sized product to avoid leaking and chaffing. They should be changed frequently so skin stays nice and dry, and the skin should be cleaned, moisturized, and protected at each change. Only about half of adult diaper changes include the use of a wipe. Fecal matter and urine can hurt the skin. As a caregiver it is important to keep skin health in mind. In order to get the best results, cleanse, moisturize, and protect. As the caregiver, you should be wearing latex gloves to protect your skin, and to avoid spreading germs, and then use wipes and skin cleansers, replenishers, moisturizers, and protectants, to protect the skin of your loved ones.

5. What steps are you taking to insure the dignity of your loved one? Despite the fact that 200 million people worldwide suffer from incontinence, it is not something most people want to be obvious about them. It can be embarrassing to lose bladder or bowel control. Many incontinence products are not just designed for function, but also for discretion. When selecting products for a loved one, consider things like odor control, bulk and design, and ease of use. For odor control, look for a super absorbent product. Look for slim fitting, low profile products, such as Depend Real Fit for Men, and for the individual who is out and about, consider products like Prevail Boxers, which are almost indistinguishable from traditional boxers.

6. Protection of mattresses and chairs should also be considered. Leaks do not just cause embarrassment, they can also lead to damaging of mattresses, chairs, and more. When purchasing incontinence products consider also buying bed pads, extra absorbent overnight products, and other protectors to keep chairs and mattresses safe.

Consumers buying incontinence products the first time can easily be confused which product, brand, style, size or absorbency to purchase. The average consumer wastes $130 on average in trial and error. And once the package is opened, they can’t be returned, so mistakes can be costly. Here are some helpful resources to help you avoid this problem:

1. Explanation of Product Typespull-ons, adjustable underwear, briefs, undergarments and more.

2. Incontinence Product Finder: Helping you to quickly and easily sort though nearly 500 choices, sizes, absorbencies, and brands. 

3. Samples: Allows you to try before you buy, you can choose from more than 100 samples.

Learn more about incontinence: Types, Attitudes, Skin Issues, How to Change, Odor, Innovation & More. 

Call us. We're here to help.

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visithttp://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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