INCONTINENCE CARE 101: WHAT IS INCONTINENCE CARE?
At the simplest level, incontinence care involves caring for an individual with any type of Urinary Incontinence (UI). For most caregivers, that means:
- Providing care and attention at-home to the patient’s health and hygiene. Caregivers usually change or help the patient change their incontinence pads or absorbent underwear. They may also use gels, wipes, or lotions to keep the patient clean. There also are solutions like bed pads and all-in-one (AIO) products for patients with limited mobility.
- Helping the patient complete non-invasive treatments. Caregivers sometimes help patients keep a bladder diary or administer medicines to help the patient control their UI.
ARE THERE GUIDELINES FOR INCONTINENCE CARE?
Currently there are no set, universal guidelines for incontinence care. However, organisations like the Continence Foundation of Australia and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) offer practical advice for caring for individuals with UI. Some of their tips include:
- Consult a doctor if the patient experiences sudden bladder or bowel control problems, such as the inability to pass urine or persistent diarrhoea.
- Make sure the patient drinks enough fluids throughout the day. Limit carbonated, caffeinated, or alcoholic beverages, as these may irritate the bladder more.
- Use barrier creams after washing the patient. These prevent perspiration, urine, and feacal residue from irritating the skin or causing infection.
- Always prepare for trips outside the home. Equip yourself or your patient with extra incontinence pads and remain aware of the nearest bathroom.
- Allow the person for whom you are caring to have as much control as possible. Let them make decisions on their own as best as they are able.
These tips reflect the standard protocol for caring for individuals with UI, but not all UI patients are the same. As a caregiver, strike a balance between adhering to care guidelines and listening to your patient. Improving the patient’s quality of life is part of the caregiver’s role; sometimes, that means allowing the patient to live as independently as possible.
WHERE CAN I FIND RESOURCES ABOUT INCONTINENCE CARE AS A CAREGIVER?
Caregivers exist all over the globe. And while there is no universal set of resources, there are many that are available in most countries and communities. They include:
- Local doctors and nurses, who can give advice on medication, general care-giving, and much more. It is best if these individuals also work with your patient directly, but this is not required.
- Information and referral services, which are designed to direct you to care and support programs in your community.
- Nutrition programs, which can provide meals or offer financial assistance for food-related expenses.
- Caregiver support groups, where caregivers can talk to one another, give and receive advice, and feel less alone in an isolating profession.
For over 40 years, iD has provided professionals and patients with the resources to get on with their lives. Our professional, dermatologist-tested range is available in over 110 countries, where we respond to the most immediate market needs. Click below to register for our incontinence care training portal, which features tips and tricks, as well as our most recent innovations.