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Dealing with Incontinence

February 22, 2016 0 Comments

Incontinence is the loss of bladder or bowel control which results in the leakage of urine or faeces (when not wanted).

Incontinence in Aged Care

Help Your Client by Dealing with Incontinence Efficiently

While it can be time consuming and require extra effort caring for someone with incontinence – bear in mind the impact on the psychology and quality of life of the person you are caring for.

Sadly, in society there is a stigma attached to the condition of incontinence. Feelings of humiliation and fear of being incontinent while in the company of others can lead to depression and distress. This distress may present itself in many ‘coping’ strategies from anger and irritability through to a cutting off connection with the outside world.

The truth is, incontinence is actually more common than most people think. According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, one in four Australian men and women suffer with the condition. Having strategies in place to efficiently and empathetically deal with incontinence minus the fuss will hopefully lessen any feelings of indignity your client maybe experiencing.

The reasons for having incontinence vary, and some include:

  • being older
  • having a disability
  • lack of mobility
  • dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • stroke
  • multiple sclerosis

If the person you are caring for suddenly develops incontinence with no previous history of it, then it may actually be an indicator of something else, eg. a urinary tract infection or food poisoning, that requires urgent medical attention.

There are some effective strategies to put into daily practice that will help with the maintenance of this condition. These include:

  • choosing a continence pad that fits firmly against the skin. This will stop urine being exposed to air and therefore reduce smell
  • regularly checking continence pads
  • changing the continence pads as soon as they are wet or soiled
  • always washing your hands before and after touching and cleaning someone with incontinence
  • wearing disposable gloves during the changing of pads and cleaning
  • washing the entire area with warm water and a soap alternative after leakage. It is important that you gently pat the skin dry with a clean, soft cloth. Never rub the skin.
  • monitoring the skin each time – and if it looks red or a sore or rash is beginning to develop, contact a specialist immediately
  • if the urine smells different then this can also indicate another issue
  • when the person you are caring for goes out for the day, ensure they have continence pads, cleaning products, and spare clothes
  • if you are out with a client who suffers with incontinence, have a good idea of where the closest toilets are
  • keeping fluids up. Never reduce fluid intake as a method for managing incontinence. If you do, the urine becomes more concentrated which can irritate the bladder, causing it to be overactive – creating even more problems
  • avoid alcohol and caffeine laden drinks (eg. coffee, tea, chocolate drinks and cola). These too can make the bladder overactive
Filed in: Workplace Tips

About the Author:

Olive resides full time in the Training Centre of Back to Basics Care. She assists students to perform activities that take place within a health care setting. Her role here on the website is to keep you up-to-date with research and study outcomes within the health care sector.

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