Incontinence care

What is incontinence? 

The term incontinence covers both urinary incontinence and anal incontinence. In the presence of anal incontinence it is complicated to control gass and stool departure. Urinary incontinence is the lack of control of urine output. It can be caused by injuries of surgery, childbirth, weak tissue or muscles etc. and accordring to the World Health Organisation, around 10 to 37% of the world population is incontinent. Urinary incontinence is present in all age groups, but the presence is increasing by age. Half of all women above the age of 75 years live their everyday life with incontinence, while the occourence is halved among men at the same age. This article describes the different conditions of urinary incontinence, some of the possible conseqences and possibilities of dealing with it.

Types of incontinence

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is related to physical stress and manifests as involuntary urination, when pressure on the bladder is decreased. The pressure can be caused by sneezes, cough, and other physical movements. People who suffers from COPD (Cronic obstructive pulmonary disease) can be extra affected by stress incontinence, because they often cough many times a day and they hereby experience a frequent pressure on the bladder.  

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence occours as a sudden urge to urinate. The bladder contracts with no notice in advance and therefore the citizen is often not able to reach the toilet in time. This condition is also known as overactive bladder.  

Overflow incontinence

With this type of incontinence, frequent or constant leakage of urine is experienced, because the bladder cannot be emptied sufficiently during toilet visits. In this way, incontinence can interfere with night sleep because the citizen has to urinate several times during the night.  

False incontinence

For some citizens, incontinence is due to not being able to reach the toilet in time – often because of immobility such as poor gait function, arthritis or other mobility losses. It can also be a consequence of impaired vision, which prevents the incontinent citizen from finding the toilet in time, or a stroke which can make especially the elderly unable to respond to the urge to urinate or to find the toilet.  

Mixed incontinence

Mixed incontinence is defined by a combination of several of the types of incontinence mentioned above. It is frequent among incontinent citizens to live with not only one but more types of incontinence at the same time.

Dementia and incontinence

A large proportion of the elderly citizens in nursing homes today are demented. The dementia can result in a lack of response to the urge to urinate or cause the person to not to be able to find the way to the toilet. In some cases, the person suffering from dementia has lost the understanding of what it means to go to the toilet and therefore does not get there on time. Some demented citizens can become aggressive and it may be impossible to help them to the toilet without the use of force. Incontinence care in the form of incontinence pads may therefore be necessary to prevent confrontations, although the citizen is physically able hold on to the water.  

Incontinence can be considered social taboo

Many people with incontinence suffer in silence, as they may consider it taboo not to be able to control their urination. In worst case incontinence can lead to social isolation because it may be safer to say no to social events and stay home, where the location of the toilet is well known and it is possible to put on clean clothes if necessary. Only one in four citizens with urinary incontinence turns to the health service and receives help. This is partly because many people think that it is an inevitable part of getting older and partly because many people find it shameful to talk about. Many do not even tell their relatives about their challenges with incontinence.

Preventing incontinence

In recent years, municipalities in Denmark have had an increased focus on preventing incontinence. Many municipalities track down the relevant risk group and offer, for example, pelvic floor training. This is decreasing in the number of elderly people who wear incontinence pads. In addition, targeted interventions in nursing homes, where citizens are helped to the toilet and receive help with pelvic floor exercises, can cure or reduce incontinence. However, this is not helping everyone and incontinence care is therefore still an important form of treatment in order to obtain dignity in a life with incontinence. As it can be seen from the article above, incontinence has many forms – and so should incontinence care. It is important to keep this in mind whenworking with incontinence care. Wear&Care Technologies offers a unique technology for individually adapted incontinence care. Contact us today, to get to know more about how we can help you with future incontinence care at your nursing home.

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