If you are a professional caretaker or someone caring for your loved one who is bedridden and suffering from urinary incontinence, you have to undertake the task of helping them pass urine, changing adult diapers and keeping their morale up as they deal with this issue.
Urinary Incontinence causes both urine leakage and hampers mobility, leaving a patient bedridden or unable to carry out day-to-day tasks without assistance. It is defined essentially as the loss of control over bladder or bowel movements.
Being a caretaker for someone suffering from bowel or urinary incontinence is exactly like taking care of a toddler, as they might have mobility issues. Sometimes, it might get annoying or frustrating. Hence, it is important to be prepared for all possible hassles that come along with this condition, and be patient enough not to let the feeling of annoyance take its toll on you. It is important to understand that caring for someone with incontinence is not just about changing their diapers regularly, but it is also about being empathetic. Fighting incontinence involves three major phases - Acceptance, Treatment, and Management.
Here are some tips for each phase, on how to help someone facing incontinence:
Encourage them to be vocal and positive.
Embarrassment is a common feeling among people suffering from incontinence, due to the stigma associated with it. As a result, it might get difficult for the person to come to terms with it. And, even if they accept it, they might hide it from their friends or family members. Being confidential about it may lead to certain changes in their lifestyle, like lack of confidence to go out and frustration, thereby leaving them depressed or stressed out.
As a thoughtful caretaker, one should encourage the patient to be ‘shamelessly vocal’ about what they go through physically as well as mentally; but also, to have a positive attitude throughout the treatment. You can help the patient normalize the situation, with a little sense of humour.
As a caregiver, make sure to treat the condition without stigma yourself—and treat the bodily emissions as natural and healthy. Even the smallest amount of disgust from your end can have a lasting impact on the patient.
Consult a doctor for guidance.
This step has to be taken to figure out what treatment or medications the patient must opt for. The treatment is largely dependent on the type of incontinence, its severity, the patient’s mental health, and the root causes of incontinence. In some cases, it might not be treatable. So, the only option left is to manage it with adult diaper pants or disposable underwear from brands such as Friends. However, the only way you can determine whether one’s incontinence issue is treatable or not is to speak with the doctor.
In addition, if you have any doubts or if the patient’s urine pattern or bladder start showing any negative signs, immediately ask for the doctor’s guidance, in order to understand the right steps to be taken.
To find a urine problem solution, one must know what is causing their incontinence. The main causes of incontinence include diabetes, menopause, pregnancy, prostate issues, stroke, etc. If the incontinence has been caused by, say, pregnancy it is often temporary and reversible. The same may not be true in the case of ageing or diabetes.
In such cases, the best option for the patient and caregiver is management.
Incontinence Management Using Adult Diapers
Adult diaper pants and pads are made for soaking accidental urine leaks. These are waterproof and hypoallergenic to keep away stains, discomfort and messy situations. Diaper pants can be worn like regular underwear by adults suffering from incontinence. They are the most affordable, easy-to-manage urine problem solutions available today. Some of these are disposable while others are washable and reusable. Some patients also use underpad sheets for adults to get extra protection for their sheets. Changing adult diapers in periodic intervals ensures that the skin is clean and free from diaper rash. Prolonged exposure to urine can cause tissue breakdown and even lead to bedsores.
Here are some important tips around their usage:
Practice makes perfect!:
Changing an adult diaper for the first time may seem daunting, but following a few easy steps can make the whole process of managing urinary incontinence simpler for you and your loved one. One should start by unfastening the diaper and folding it back in such a way that the excrement is contained within. Slowly pull the soiled adult diaper pant and throw them away in a separate covered bin.
Wipe between changes to keep skin clean and soft:
Caretakers must use fresh wipes and clean the skin around the diaper area gently. Remember to wipe from the front to the back as this prevents bacteria from spreading and reduces the chances of infections. Fold the wipes while thoroughly cleaning each part and keep using fresh ones as soon as the wipe becomes dirty. This makes the process more hygienic.
Check for Rashes and infection:
While cleaning the skin around the nether regions, caretakers must be very gentle and check for signs of rashes or inflammation. The skin in these areas is fragile and vulnerable and an early warning signal for infection can help in getting timely treatment. It is important to clean and subsequently dry all the folds of the skin and leave it open for at least two minutes. Caretakers should also straighten the underpad sheets designed for adults and ensure it is clean and free of creases. Once this is done, caretakers should slowly pull up the diaper from both sides until it snugly fits the wearer.
Understand your patient’s issue:
The kind of diaper used depends on the root cause of the incontinence and the type. Types of incontinence include stress urinary incontinence, overflow incontinence or urge incontinence, depending on the frequency and amount of urination. Stress urinary incontinence is faced most commonly by women due to pregnancy, obesity or menopause and characterized by small amounts of urine being squirted out alongside sneezing, coughing, laughing or sitting.
Use the correct diaper:
Understanding your patient’s issue helps choose the correct diaper. While managing incontinence through underpants and diapers, one must remember to use a properly fitting adult diaper as a wrong sized diaper can cause chafing and damage to the skin.
Caretakers responsible for tending to urinary incontinence patients must store all of the required supplies near the patient’s bedside. By keeping supplies like underpad sheets, diaper rash cream for adults, wet wipes and soft cotton towels within a moment’s reach can save time and effort of the caretakers while changing the diaper pants and assisting their loved ones. It also prevents any accidents if one suddenly rushes to the bathroom or scrambles to look for essentials. An incontinence patient’s supplies should be kept exclusive and not shared or used by anyone else to prevent infections of any kind.
Tips to manage incontinence
Choose the Right Clothes
Choosing the right clothes for the patient, including underpads, and changing their clothes on a timely basis, is essential. Choose clothing that is dark in colour and slightly loose, so that the person feels the desired comfort, without worrying about their appearance. Moreover, the idea is to choose clothes that can be taken off or worn easily. So, if the patient has severe mobility issues, choose taped adult diapers. If you are looking for adult diapers online, Friends Adult Diapers have an impressive collection of adult diapers for men and women, of all ages.
Manage their fluid intake and diet
There are certain foods and drinks that make the issue of incontinence worse, like spicy foods, excess Vitamin C, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, and alcohol. Ensure that the patient’s fluid intake and diet are not only managed properly but are also devoid of the foods and drinks that catalyze incontinence.
Always carry an incontinence kit
Just because someone suffers from incontinence, does not mean that they should not go out or have a social life. So, being a good caretaker also means taking the patient out for a ride or on a trip, while carrying a proper incontinence kit. It should comprise of tape/pant adult incontinence diapers with high absorbency, extra towels, plastic bags, catheters, cleansing wipes, disposable gloves, skin lotion, fresh clothes, and extra undergarments.
Schedule their toilet visits
Schedule the patient’s toilet visits in such a way that they subconsciously develop a habit of urinating every 2.5-4 hours. Besides that, you should also assess toilet visibility and accessibility, particularly at night hours.
Ensure the room is rid of bad odours
The surrounding environment certainly affects one’s mindset. So, ensure that the patient’s room is always devoid of bad odours and has a pleasant smell. Use fragrance sticks or air perfumes, or simply install an aroma dispenser machine in the room. Interestingly, one can also go for adult diapers with an odour lock feature, which means it minimizes the existence of the bacteria that causes bad odour and ensures the person does not smell unpleasant, in any way.
Understanding incontinence is the best way to be a good caretaker. Get a good grasp of the issue, so that you can maintain an attitude that helps the patient in a positive manner. People suffering from incontinence are prone to psychological issues, like depression, anxiety and stress. In such situations, it is good to understand what is bothering them and try to have a constructive dialogue with them. At the back of a caretaker’s mind, there must be a consideration that the patient, sometimes, might need emotional support as well. So, they should always ensure that the patient does not lose their peace of mind.
Managing any health condition is not simply limited to medication and rest. It also involves making your surrounding environment more positive and clean, which affects the mood of the person being treated, and makes the management task much easier.
*Anup Thakur, a 45 year old man living in Jaipur, learned this the hard way last year. He was suffering from urinary incontinence, due to which he used to experience frequent urination urges. After consulting his doctor, he found out that it was light, which means he could manage it at home with some kegel exercises, bladder training, and adult diapers. However, it was not under control even after trying to manage it for 3 months. The doctor noticed Anup had a bacterial infection around his anus, which occurred due to a lack of proper care at home, where he lived alone. After many anxious discussions with his doctor, he realised that his surrounding environment was not ideal for his condition. 2 weeks after he was readmitted into hospital, he finally got rid of incontinence and realized how important it was to keep his house continence friendly, in order to continue to manage his condition properly.
Everything around you plays a crucial role in managing your health condition. Often, people opt to move into a proper assisted-care space, which is relatively better for them. But, when it comes to managing incontinence, it is not a necessity, unless your house is not continence friendly. Making your house continence friendly allows you to be more self-sufficient and move around freely and without worry.
Here are some changes that you should consider making to your home environment, to make it continence friendly:
Get rid of the clutter
Take the time from your schedule and go through the clutter in your house, in order to remove all the redundant items from your living space. This will make your house cleaner and more spacious, thereby allowing you to move around freely.
Remove unnecessary furniture
Find out which parts of your bedroom furniture can be removed and arrange them somewhere else so that there are no obstacles on your way to the toilet. That, in turn, will give you free access to use the washroom facilities, whether at night or in the day.
Improve lighting in and around the toilet
Other than ensuring that it is easy to get yourself on the toilet as well as off it, you should also check whether the lighting outside the toilet as well as within it is bright enough. If not, then you should improve the lighting of your restroom.
Protect useful furniture
Since managing incontinence can be quite a messy task, it is essential that you keep your bed and chairs clean by protecting them with incontinence underpads. Better safe than sorry, we say!
Choose adjustable clothing
Since managing incontinence involves changing clothes, undergarments or diapers frequently, it is beneficial to choose clothes that are not only adjustable but also easy to wear and take off.
All the changes suggested above will make your house continence friendly and give you more space, and that too, with no obstacles that might lead to falls or injuries. This will ensure that you manage incontinence without any hassle and enhance the quality of your life. So, if you want to manage incontinence the right way, consider making your house ideal for incontinence management, as the primary step.