If you are shopping for incontinence products because suddenly you are a caregiver and you need to provide in-home care to a loved one, making the right choice can be challenging. Why? The shelves in your local pharmacy or home health department are loaded with many different brands. Let’s explore why not all brands are equally ideal.
Some products are recognizable because you see the ads on television or in magazines. These are typically marketing to the active individual worried about the discreteness of said product. It is rare to see an item advertised to the public for an individual with special needs, such as a person with dementia or mobility issues. Look past the marketing and research the actual features and capabilities of the product before deciding.
Understanding Different Types of Incontinence
What type of incontinence does the person have? This will be important in deciding what type of product is best suited for them. There are several types, as it happens, including the following:
- Stress (leaking a small amount when sneezing or coughing)
- Urge (a sudden urge to urinate that is so strong that it cannot be held long enough)
- Mixed (a combination of stress and urge)
- Overflow (involuntary urination; bladder muscles are unable to contain urine under pressure)
- Reflex (Unaware of the need to urinate)
- Functional (inability to get to the bathroom fast enough due to mobility or cognitive impairments)
Ask Yourself the Important Questions
When identifying what product and brand will work best for an incontinent individual, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much absorbency is needed and/or do they need a product for bowel incontinence?
- What size is the individual?
- Are they able to toilet themselves or with assistance, or do they require full assistance?
- What is the budget available?
Different Brands, Different Solutions
Most brands carry several different types of incontinence products. These include pads, liners, and guards, which are worn beneath the individuals’ underwear to provide protection. Protective underwear is another alternative, which is a pull-on product that fits like regular underwear with an elastic waistband. Most people describe this product as a pull-up. Lastly, there are briefs, a tab-style product that most people describe as a diaper.
A good-quality brand product may be more expensive than the advertised television brands. Brands that work well and fit comfortably keep the person confident and dry. The additional cost of a good product actually means more potential savings in the long run, including in the following ways:
- Reduced costs for medical care due to very little to no skin breakdown
- Lower laundry costs thanks to a reduced risk of leaks,
- Reduced caregiving costs due to the individual needing less help with changes, helping caregivers to operate more efficiently and focus on other duties
In conclusion, buyers should be cautious and do their research. It’s also a good idea to talk to a home health adviser, as they should be able to educate you on the right fit, proper absorbency, and even give you samples of products to try. This makes it easier to ensure the right size and style. The brands that you don’t recognize from TV and magazines typically market through a good sample program, allowing the customers to try before they buy.