How to Choose Clothing for the Incontinent


Incontinence brings many problems, but garments that open easily, have wrap-over backs or conceal drainage bags alleviate some of them.

For those female patients whose problem is the inability to wait rather than true incontinence, French knickers and single-leg tights may prove easier to manage than many other underclothes.

Garments with wrap-over backs have, two flaps that can be moved from under the buttocks when the patient is sitting or lying, so avoiding soiling. Nightdresses, dressing gowns, dresses and slips are available with wrap-over backs, in pleasant and easily-washed fabrics. These clothes give comfort and security to the incontinent, and are labour-saving for those providing care; but they do not provide an excuse for not using the lavatory as often as is necessary.

For men, Velcro fastenings and elastic waist-bands make trousers easier to cope with. Suits can be adapted for easy move­ment and flies enlarged to accommodate urinals and other appliances. Trousers can be modified to incorporate a flap in the back; a long open-back shirt is available; and for those wearing pyjamas for long periods the U-shaped crotch and raglan sleeve make movement easier.

Many other normal garments can be adapted: long zips or Velcro fastenings can be added; dresses can open right down the front; a skirt may be opened down both sides and the front panel secured around the waist with tapes, allowing the back panel to be pulled down easily. Some Women’s Royal Voluntary Service centres and other organizations may give help with alterations. The community nursing sister, social worker for the disabled or Citizens’ Advice Bureau will be able to provide you with information about where special clothing may be selected and bought.

French knickers

Commonly available, French knickers have the advantage of a wide leg opening. They are useful if the patient is often in a hurry to use the lavatory.

Wrap-over dress

A dress with a wrap-over back looks perfectly normal when the patient is standing or walking about. When she is sitting or lying down, the two flaps at the back can be opened and pushed back so that she is in no danger of soiling them.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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