10 Questions to Ask Your Care Facility About Product Management

Ask the right questions to insure
 your loved one's products are managed properly.
According to recent information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), over half of the nursing home population experiences some degree of incontinence. This implies that care facilities use a great deal of absorbent products for incontinence management. And there is a lot of room for mismanagement of those said products. Asking the right questions can help you insure your loved one’s products are managed properly. 

The following are 10 questions you should ask your care facility about their product management:

1. How are the “needed” supplies determined?

The proper type, size, and absorbency are important for proper management of incontinence. Bags of products are often priced similarly, and one bag of medium briefs may hold 20, while the large may only contain 14. Bigger is not always better, rather the proper fit and sizing can mean savings. In addition, there is a wide variety of incontinence management products available, designed to meet different needs and conditions. The right products, sizing, and style can mean less chance of product failure, and lower cost. The care facility should be asking:

"Is this the correct product for the resident?"

"Is it the right absorbency for the resident?"

"Is it the right size for the resident?"

"Is the product being used and applied correctly?"

Disposable incontinence products can have a huge financial impact on a care facility, and the residents. This means that putting the individuals in the best products for their needs will not only increase comfort and protection, but lower cost.

2. How is product usage tracked?

It is hard to spot mismanagement if product usage is not tracked. Residents should use consistent numbers of products from month to month, and average about 5 a day based on national statistics.

3. Are the products stored in a secure room?

Because absorbent products are expensive, theft should be considered, and products should be stored in a secure place, where monitored access is granted, and records kept.

4. How do you avoid waste?

With disposable incontinence supplies comprising as much as 8% of a care facility’s yearly budget, waste should not only be a high consideration, but there should be an actionable plan in place for waste avoidance. What is it? Do they have one?

5. How do you avoid mismanagement of products?

Mismanagement and waste are similar but are not the same. What steps and trainings are done to insure employees are not mismanaging products?

6. What kind of records are kept?

Are daily totals kept? Are monthly totals kept? Are soiling reports kept? Are the caretakers who provide products notated? What kind of records are used to help monitor and manage the distribution of incontinence products at the care facility?

7. How are supplies organized?

If over half the residents need incontinence products, how is the facility keeping track of who uses what, who needs what, and how products are distributed? Understanding their method of organization can help you identify any possible problem areas for potential mismanagement.

8. How is product usage monitored?

Are there logs, electronic monitoring, supervisors, cameras? How is the facility making sure the employees are properly using and managing the products?

9. What other steps are being taken to treat incontinence?

While this may not seem relevant, absorbent products should not be used as the primary long-term approach to managing incontinence. The facility’s healthcare team should be trying to identify the cause, and correct the problem with a treatment plan. This will greatly reduce the amount of needed product.

10. What assurances can you offer me that my loved one’s disposable incontinence products are being managed well?

Further Reading: 

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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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