As a caregiver, finding the right incontinence product can be overwhelming, so we put some tips together to help you navigate incontinence products for your loved one.
Providing caregiving to a loved one is a profoundly meaningful experience. It also means juggling a lot of responsibilities, and if your loved one has incontinence, one responsibility is identifying the best product to use. Supporting a person with incontinence may be stressful, but having a quality, absorbent, and well-fitting product can make all the difference.
“Choosing the right incontinence product for your loved one is critical to their health and well-being,” says Mary Konz, clinical nurse for incontinence products at Attends Healthcare Products. To help navigate the world of incontinence products, we have compiled five key areas to consider when choosing an incontinence product for your loved one:
- Dignity and discretion — Products that look and feel like underwear will provide more comfort to the wearer and feel more natural.
- Fast absorption — Incontinence products contain an absorbent gel inside their cores that traps liquid. Products that prevent leaks and absorb quickly help keep the skin dry and healthy.
- Odor control and minimal sound — The product should not allow odor to escape, and very minimal sound should be produced when the user moves around.
- Breathable — Beyond locking wetness away from skin, a good product allows for air to flow to help promote skin health.
- Easy to remove — Ability to easily remove the product is helpful when caring for loved ones.
Konz stresses the importance of the absorbent gel inside the core of incontinence products, which she says, “neutralizes urine ammonia, wicks wetness away from the skin, and leads to more comfort for the user.” Most disposable incontinence products, which range from pads to briefs, contain absorbent gel inside their cores and, depending on how they are designed and constructed, can be used for varying incontinence situations.
“There are a variety of product solutions that address specific needs and severity levels,” Konz says, “so there are options out there for everyone.” Options include:
- Pads or guards — Discreet products used for light leakage resulting from sneezing, coughing, or moving around. The liquid is absorbed by the product and keeps the skin clean and dry.
- Protective underwear — A slip-on product that replaces regular underwear and fits under clothing. Protective underwear can hold larger amounts of fluid compared to pads and are usually for people who may not always make it to the bathroom in time.
- Briefs — Constructed with side tabs for easy changes, these are a great choice for less mobile individuals. They’re designed to manage heavy to severe incontinence, with one prime feature being a large and absorbent surface area.
- Underpads — Soft, thin sheets with a waterproof barrier on one side, these are designed to protect surfaces from leakage. Underpads are helpful with reducing the frequency of having to launder and change the sheets.
Sometimes, using multiple incontinence products is necessary, as they can be used for different scenarios or in unison with one another. For example, an individual may don briefs, but during the time a soiled brief is removed to change to a new brief, underpads may be used so that the bedding or surface is not dirtied.
Being a caregiver can be a daunting, beautiful, and rewarding role. Despite the potential challenges that caregivers may face, we hope the tips and explanations in this article help you navigate the incontinence product world to make decisions that provide you and your loved one with care, comfort, and confidence. The right solution for your loved one is out there and can make a huge difference in your lives.