Incontinence Management in Assisted Living Facilities
Advice for Family Members for Managing Incontinence Supplies for Their Loved in Assisted Living or Continuing Care
A growing number of family caregivers are managing incontinence and incontinence supplies for loved ones in Assisted Living or Continuing Care Communities. Here are some recommendations on how to manage your loved one’s supplies as efficiently as possible:
Get to know the caregivers and care manager for your loved one in the facility.
They should be able to share how the facility helps the resident manage incontinence, and take into consideration skin health, and budgetary limits on how much will be spent on incontinence supplies per month.
Some of the factors that affect your loved one’s incontinence are:
- how many times the resident is being changed
- when and if leaks occur
- how the facility caregivers are helping the resident to manage incontinence overnight
- what medications are affecting the resident’s incontinence
- mobility concerns (lack of mobility obviously can affect the ability of a loved one to get to the bathroom in a timely fashion)
More changes per day means diapers, briefs and/or underwear don’t have to be super absorbent.
Super absorbent products (30 oz + of void capacity) are very popular in aging at home environments – these super absorbent products cost more on a per piece basis, but equate to less changes per day.
In an Assisted Living environment, its not uncommon to see caregivers administering up to six to eight changes per day; with a higher frequency of changes, it is not necessary to purchase super absorbent products when “value” selections will stretch your dollars much further.
Use booster pads for overnight use and for male “leakers.
A booster pad is simply an additional layer of absorption material that works inside of a traditional pull-up or diaper. Booster pads can add an additional 8 – 14 oz of absorption material and transform a value diaper into a super absorbent diaper for overnight use – and the caregivers should know to only use booster pads for nighttime use.
A Booster Pad can be wrapped around the tip of a male’s penis to deflect a void back into the diaper – an effective tactic for dealing with Male side-sleepers who are prone to leaking.
Don’t use mass market brands that advertise on television.
To stretch the family’s hard-earned dollar and for the assisted living caregivers who must use the supplies provided, there are a number of higher quality products that will better serve all involved, and that will cost less. Simply put, mass market brands put their dollars into advertising and shelf space – not into the absorbency or quality of their products, leaving caregivers and residents frustrated with their poor performance.
NorthShore Care Supply specializes in incontinence products, and has an excellent selection of competitively priced high quality options.
You can also find plenty of choices among Amazon’s incontinence supplies.
For more information on choosing the right incontinence supplies, see my earlier posts:
Write your incontinence directives on a piece of poster board, and tape it to where the incontinence supplies are stored.
This dovetails with getting to know your loved one’s caregivers, as mentioned above, and ensures that your directives are plainly communicated for any new staff or nighttime staff.
Speak up if you notice that some of your loved one’s incontinence supplies are missing.
Sometimes staff within assisted living facilities will “borrow” supplies from an adjacent resident room – rather than walking down the hall to a supplies closet. If this becomes the standard operating procedure, then you are subsidizing your loved one’s neighbors. That is why it is so important to speak to the caregivers and put out written instructions. So, if you notice your supplies are “shrinking,” say something!
Keep track of how much incontinence supplies are being used on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
For a resident with full-time incontinence that requires six changes per day (each change entails a new diaper/underwear + wipes + gloves), the cost can easily exceed $200 – $300 per month. A resident who has light incontinence and/or only nighttime incontinence can budget their monthly expenditure to under $100 per month.
Set up an auto-reorder of incontinence products when possible.
Once you understand how the assisted living caregivers are applying the incontinence products you are purchasing for your loved one, and you are keeping track of order/usage per month, set-up auto reordering – it will be easier for all involved.
Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas. I welcome your comments below.
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