Throughout your career as a caregiver, you will work with many patients who have various health needs and conditions, including incontinence. This is when an individual involuntarily loses control of their bladder and/or bowels, and it is most common in older people, those with menopause, and people who have given birth.
As this condition can be challenging and embarrassing for patients, caregivers must be equipped with the proper incontinence supplies and strategies. Here’s some great advice from Liberty Resources Home Choices.
Planning for the Occurrence of Incontinence
Incontinence can strike at any time, whether the patient is laughing at a funny joke, coughing or sneezing, or experiencing physical strain. Incontinence does not discriminate and can affect anyone from an otherwise healthy individual to patients with mobility issues. That is why caregivers should always be ready for incontinence when designing their services. Here are a few time-tested strategies from Liberty Resources Home Choices:
Encourage Helpful Lifestyle Changes
Forming good habits around an incontinence diagnosis can greatly help patients with managing their symptoms. For instance, bladder training can involve Kegel exercises, as well as scheduling bathroom trips at the same times every day to make accidents less likely. Changes in the patient’s diet and intake of fluids can also assist in managing incontinence.
When patients with incontinence are constipated, they may experience too much pressure from hard stool in their rectum, making incontinence worse. With the right dietary changes and over-the-counter medications, caregivers can help patients avoid constipation and further discomfort.
Know When to Get Medical Assistance
If incontinence is a new problem for your patient, have them evaluated by a physician to confirm a diagnosis and ensure there are no underlying causes relating to other diseases. Whether the patient has had incontinence for a while or was recently diagnosed, all caregivers also need to recognize when the problem is worsening. Involve the patient’s healthcare provider immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Presence of blood in urine or stool
- Tremendous difficulty with urination or defecation
- Sudden, new loss of their ability to pass urine or stool
Be Ready for Accidents
Despite the best efforts of caregivers and their patients, accidents due to incontinence are always a possibility. Wherever the incident occurs, caregivers should act with compassion to clean up the accident and help their patients into dry clothes. Having items like gloves, cleaning products, and incontinence supplies on hand can make this task much easier.
Incontinence Products that Get the Job Done
Incontinence supplies have come a long way since the days of clunky diapers being the only solution. If you are a caregiver, these incontinence supplies can save the day:
- Incontinence pads: Made of absorbent material, these pads are similar to menstrual pads yet designed to contain urine, all while keeping the wearer dry.
- Incontinence underwear and pants: With a hydrophobic layer that absorbs urine away from the skin, incontinence clothing is not bulky and looks like menstrual underwear.
- Tampons: They should not be used for managing daily incontinence, though they can be an extra layer of protection when stress incontinence occurs in female patients.
- Other incontinence products: These may include bed and furniture protection, catheters, penile sheaths, urinals, skincare, and hygiene products.
Learn More about Caregiving Amid Incontinence
At Liberty Resources Home Choices, we are always on the lookout for compassionate, skilled caregivers who can handle the needs of patients with grace and help them maintain their dignity and independence. For more information about how Liberty Resources Home Choices administers incontinence care and available caregiving positions, contact us today. You can also read more about what being a caregiver is like on our blog.