Tips for Carers of People With Incontinence
Are you looking after someone with incontinence? Do you feel like it’s getting out of hand?
Caring for someone can be demanding and overwhelming. If they suffer from incontinence, this adds an extra challenge. You may experience feelings of anger, frustration and upset. While your dependant may feel embarrassed, depressed and ashamed. Having helpful incontinence products can vastly improve the situation for both parties.
Once incontinence has been diagnosed, specialists will commence treatment. It’s worth noting, incontinence in many cases cannot be cured, but can be well managed with good preparation and approach.
Here's a list of things that may help you to better manage incontinence:
- Be open and talk with the person you're caring for about the situation, and how you both feel about it. This will allow you both to settle the negative emotions. You can try to use humour to relax the situation!
- Remain calm when accidents happen. This will be easier if you prepare yourself, and the house, well. Use good waterproof protection on furniture and beds. While many people use disposable pads on armchairs and beds, they do not provide ample protection as they move around and often leak. They are also not very discreet! PeapodMats provide good, discreet waterproof protection, and they stay put. They can also be quickly whisked away and washed to reduce stress and anxiety on both parts.
- Remember to wear gloves to avoid any cross contamination.
- Use clothing that is easily changed in case of sudden urges to use the toilet, or an accident.
- If a person is bed bound, make sure you have a good, waterproof mattress protector that can be quickly changed. PeapodMats are great as they protect the bedsheet so there’s no need to strip the whole bed in the case of an accident. This will hugely reduce the discomfort of the person you are caring for as you won’t have to roll or move them excessively.
- Keep a commode next to the bed so it can be easily accessed.
- If you're heading out for a walk, be prepared! Pack spare clothes, cover the wheelchair with a waterproof pad, and plan accordingly to person’s needs. Try to plan the walk around toilet breaks.
- Make sure the person stays hydrated. Often, people with incontinence avoid drinking thinking that’ll solve the problem. It won’t. It often makes things worse by causing urinary tract infections.
- Check their diet. Coffee and tea can make incontinence worse. Avoid chocolate, spicy food or too much fresh and dried fruit in the diet. These can irritate bowel incontinence.
- Prepare well. You will need a lot of pads and it’s best to choose reusable ones. While disposable pads may appear cheap at the time, they quickly add up to at least £312 a year, just for bedding protection. That’s based on using only one pad per night. These pads are also very harmful to the environment and they often leak.
- Keep a diary of when the person needs the toilet and take them 4-6 times a day. Such a schedule will also be useful if you decide to use care services for the toilet needs.
- Take regular breaks from caring. You're undertaking a heavy workload by looking after someone, and if their incontinence has a serious impact on you, ask for help. It’s not unusual to have carers coming in few times a day to take the person to the toilet, change their pad and bedding. Your wellbeing is paramount, so you can continue to provide the best care possible.
- If you are looking after someone with dementia, you might need a different approach to the situation.
We hope that you find these tips helpful. Is there anything that you would like to add to this list that could help others?
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.