Incontinence can be an embarrassing situation for an elderly person. It also poses a risk to their health as a result of irritation to the skin. For this reason frequent and effective intervention to keep the area dry is important. This can be achieved through behavioral intervention such as toileting schedules. However, the person may not always be aware of passing urine or feces making a toilet schedule impossible. In those cases, the use of Adult Diapers and other products is necessary.
Ideally, skin should be cleaned with warm soapy water. Disposable wipes can be used as well and may the added benefits of a skin moisturizer. Another benefit of wipes is that they can cover a larger area and provide an overall feeling of cleanliness.
Plastic sheets can be used to protect bedding; however, care must be taken since any direct contact with the skin can trap moisture and produce excess sweating. Other alternatives include underpads, diapers or briefs, and waterproof pads that have a cloth overlay which absorbs moisture.
Adult diapers absorb moisture caused by incontinence as well as keep the skin dry. They are sized from small to extra large. Pay attention to the amount and frequency of incontinence to determine the thickness and size of diaper needed. An excessive amount of urine overnight may be lessened by reducing the amount of liquids after dinner and eliminating some diuretic foods such as asparagus and herbal teas.
A Foley catheter may be necessary when urine contact with the skin causes breakouts that won’t heal, or if medication reduces or stops the flow of urine altogether. A less invasive external catheter could be used with a drainage bag. This type of catheter can be effective but does pose some challenges for women since the devise can fall off if the adhesive becomes wet.
No matter which form of adult diaper or incontinence product is used, care for the perennial skin and care in keeping hands clean are important for the senior’s health. Also any change in color, odor, or the amount of discharge should be reported to the doctor.