As the average life-span in most developed countries continues to grow, the prevalence of incontinence will continue to rise and the demand for incontinence services will continue to increase. According to data published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the prevalence of incontinence among people aged 65 and over is significant. Prevalence varies by living arrangement with the highest rates in long-term nursing home residents (75.8%) and hospice patients (62.1%). The situation is slightly better for noninstitutionalized persons (50.9%), short-term nursing home residents (46.1%), and home health care patients (45.4%). The lowest, but still a significant rate, is in residential care facilities (39%). Incontinence affects roughly twice as many women as men. In the United States, the overall cost of bladder incontinence among adults was estimated to be at over $20 billion.
The cost of incontinence care is considerable and includes products such as pullups and briefs, underpads, and skin care. Additional costs may include the laundering of garments and linens, costs associated with time spent by nurses and caregivers, and disposable gloves used by caregivers during changes. Medical costs associated with incontinence may include the treatment of pressure sores, urinary tract infections and costs associated with injuries from falls in elders. Many of these expenses are driven by skin problems and leakages caused by incontinent wearers using low quality products and/or inappropriate size selection.
The illusion of savings
One popular way to attempt cost savings is to buy low-priced products. This rarely works, as low-priced products typically have inferior quality that triggers further costs. When absorbent products are made of low quality materials, they can cause skin irritation, which is expensive to treat. Low absorbency products means frequent changes which require more products per day and more disposable gloves used per day, thus increasing total cost. Additionally, using products without anti-leakage features causes frequent leakages that lead to more staff work and higher expenses from bedding changes and laundry costs. Sleep deprivation caused by people waking up wet during the night negatively influences overall well-being which can lead to social isolation and/or depression incurring additional costs.
Quality pays back
“Buying cheap means buying more.” This rule of thumb applies to fast moving goods such as incontinence supplies. Quality incontinence products perform better due to higher absorbency and improved construction using softer materials. Wearers of high quality products benefit from being able to have 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep without the need for product changes, benefiting both the wearer and their caregiver. With no leakages, there is no need to change bedding or buy extra underpads. Soft, breathable materials reduce the incidence of wounds and irritations, preventing some costs from ointments and skin treatment. This is especially useful when facing caregiver staffing shortages, but also allows caregivers to care more for the psychological needs – not only the body – of their patients or loved ones, an outcome of inestimable value.
How to choose quality cost-effective products?
Here are some product features to consider when choosing adult incontinence products. These features are typical of premium quality products and the benefits they provide may reduce other costs, making the quality option the most cost-effective option.
High absorbency and retention capacity. High absorbency allows a product to protect for more than 2 hours which is especially important at night. This not only gives more dignity to the wearer, but also prevents sleep deprivation, allows for quality restorative sleep, and improves overall well-being. Staying dry keeps incontinent people away from the toilet at night so the risk of injuries due to falls is reduced.
Breathability. Incontinence products with a vapor permeable outer layer help the skin breathe easily, improving its health. If the product has a vapor permeable shell the skin sweats less, stays drier and is less prone to irritations, which is especially important on hot days. A breathable shell is also softer and quieter, providing discretion and a better chance of uninterrupted sleep. The bigger the surface of the breathable zones, the better for the skin. The NAFC (National Association for Continence) requires manufacturers to provide breathability at least on the side “wings” and discourages using products with a plastic outer layer “because it negatively impacts the skin health, contributes to trapped heat and perspiration and thus skin breakdown, contributes to the growth in odor-causing bacteria, is noisy and uncomfortable, and generally serves no useful benefit over high quality disposable absorbents.” Note that cloth-like or textile-like products are not always breathable or vapor permeable: a majority of cloth-like products only have breathable wings which does not ensure the same microclimate as fully breathable products.
Side gathers, leakage barriers or leak guards. Surprisingly, there are still some products without this feature, which is one of the best protectors against side leakages. Side gathers are most important when leakages are abundant, even if infrequent. Their absence is a key reason for embarrassing leaks or frequent changes of clothes, underpads or bedding. Using briefs or underwear with barriers – even if they are more expensive – saves time and money spent on changing bedding and laundry.
Softness. Skin in the elderly is thinner and more prone to abrasion. Briefs, underwear, and/or pads are in direct contact with the body. In fact, they are replacing regular underwear, so they should be soft and gentle to avoid irritating sensitive skin in intimate areas. The most sensitive perineal areas deserve special care, which is why materials touching them should be extremely delicate. Absorbent products typically have a special distribution layer right beneath the top sheet, which may be made of either soft non-woven or of plastic. As you can imagine, plastic is unpleasant for the skin, especially in intimate areas. To avoid irritations or chafing, it is better to choose products with a soft non-woven distribution layer.
Elastic elements. A flexible waistband, elastic leg cuffs, and elastic closing tapes help adjust the product closely to the body without compromising the skin. When we consume or excrete liquids, or even simply breathe, our body size changes. Even if a product fits well right after application, it may become too tight and press the skin during use. Elastic tapes and waistband allow the product to “work” together with the changing body. An elastic waistband accompanied by elastic leg cuffs also ensures a perfect fit in order to prevent leakages. Fewer leakages = lower cost.
Seni is a premium brand of 100% breathable, super absorbent adult incontinence products with USA headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Seni pullups and briefs, along with superior Seni skin care products are a better option for both incontinent elders and their caregivers. Seni is a brand under Poland based TZMO SA, a large global manufacturer of medical hygiene products that has been in business since 1951 with a presence in 19 countries and distribution to over 80 markets.