Two of the most important factors influencing the type of incontinence supplies you choose for patients are the level and frequency of incontinence, as well as whether the resident is experiencing urinary or bowel incontinence. The type of incontinence experienced also plays an important role in product choice.
- Occasional: less than 7 episodes
- Frequent: 7 or more episodes, but at least one episode of continent voiding
- Always: no episodes of continent voiding
- Occasional: one episode
- Frequent: 2 or more episodes, but at least one continent bowel movement
- Always: no episodes of content bowel movements
Finding the right incontinence product depends on the level of absorption and coverage that the patient needs for their circumstance. With occasional or light incontinence, a guard or incontinence pad may be sufficient, whereas protective underwear or a fitted brief may be needed for moderate or heavy incontinence. Most products highlight the level of absorbency on the product packaging, but it may take trying the product to identify if it’s the right fit for your patient’s needs.
Is the incontinence product being used during the day or overnight? In some instances, patients who need incontinence products may need a product with light absorbency in the day, when they can reach a bathroom, and a product with more absorbency over night, when they cannot.
Is the incontinence product being used by a patient who is quite active or someone with limited mobility? If the incontinence product is being used by someone who is quite active, choosing something flexible and absorbent, while also being “low profile” or well-fitted, maybe the optimal choice. If the product is being used by a person with limited mobility, easy removal for caregivers is a key feature.
Sizing and placement of the right product is critical for managing patients’ incontinence. Most incontinence products provide measurements so that users can accurately gauge the size of the product for fit and comfort. Many products now fit like traditional underwear, or fit beneath underwear for discreet protection.
There are incontinence products available with and without odor control, so determining whether it’s needed can be a deciding factor. In some cases, it may be necessary to supplement the incontinence product with an odor neutralizer.
Some incontinence products are more expensive than others. Rather than buying solely based on cost, it’s better to find the products that best fits your patients’ individual needs and offers the best protection. Many medical-surgical distributors offer private label incontinence products that provide a quality comparable to national brands, with cost savings.
When managing incontinence, it’s important to consider more than just daily protection. When skin is consistently exposed to moisture, it becomes very delicate and needs to be cared for to help avoid infection. Finding incontinence products that wick moisture away from the skin is the first step, however, skin care is also critical for effective incontinence care. Personal wipes, cleansers (like perineal cleansers) and skin conditioners and moisturizers are helpful supplements to an incontinence skin care regime.
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Be advised that the information contained herein is intended to serve as a useful reference for informational purposes only and is not complete clinical information. This information is intended for use only by competent healthcare professionals exercising judgment in providing care. McKesson cannot be help responsible for the continued currency of or for any errors or omissions in the information.