How to Use Incontinent Aids

Any aid recommended should be chosen with the individual needs of the patient in mind. These will vary depending on whether the patient is incontinent only at night or in the daytime too, and on whether he is up and dressed or in bed for most of the day. The age and condition – physical and mental – of the patient should also be taken into account.

Urinals for men are especially valuable at night or when the patient cannot be moved. Female urinals are small and light. They hold 600ml and can be slipped between a patient’s legs without her hips needing to be raised off the bed. A Feminal consists of a plastic holder and a polythene bag. Specially moulded to the female shape, it can be used sitting or standing and is small enough to be carried in a handbag. If the bag cannot be emptied immediately after use and a new bag attached, it can be tied and kept for a while.

Stretch pants are light, open-stretch pants designed to fit any patient, whatever their size. Across the pants are two woven-in blue bands which hold a plastic-backed pad firmly in place. These pants can be used at night and can also be either hand or machine washed but not bleached.

Underpads for use on the patient’s bed are made of layers of absorbent material backed by waterproof material. There are various kinds. Pads are useful at night.

A Kylie bed sheet combines a drawsheet with an underpad. The central part is a soft absorbent yellow quilted material while the edges are thinner sheeting for tucking in. The centre allows urine to spread across it. The sheet may be left under the patient for 12 hours. It never feels really wet, just damp when saturated. It looks and feels pleasant and can be frequently laundered. A spin dryer is needed, though, as their absorbency makes these sheets heavy and extremely slow to dry. Unfortunately, they are expensive and you would need at least two.

The use of pants and pads as incontinence aids should not mean that regular visits to the lavatory are abandoned.

Dispose of soiled pads or pant liners into a plastic bag, never put them on an unprotec­ted floor. The plastic bags for the disposal of incontinent or surgical waste may be pro­vided through the local health authority. The community nursing sister will advise you how to get hold of them.

To give the patient more independence a catheter may be inserted into the bladder and left in position. This is known as long-term catheterization. The urine drains into a bag strapped to the leg or supported by a waist belt. The bag is emptied periodically. The problem is that catheters encourage infection. Catheters must be changed regularly by a doctor or nurse and the area around them must be kept clean. Follow the advice of the community nursing sister: she may suggest washing carefully around the catheter with soap and water, using a flannel kept for this purpose only; or the patient may be given a daily bath.

Some male patients are fitted with rubber sheaths (condoms) attached to tubing which drains into a bag attached to the leg.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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