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Ask The Doc: How Do I Set A Changing Schedule For My Elderly Mother

Question:

My mother is 94 and has Alzheimer’s. She wears pullups at night and a pad during the day because of her urinary incontinence. We keep asking her care home to take her to the toilet and change her pad during the day, but the RN doesn’t know when this should happen. I thought normally before lunch, but is there a particular schedule that I should be insisting on?  I typically stop by in the early evening, and when I arrive, I make sure to change mom myself, but shouldn’t staff be doing it as a routine, too? She has been wetting herself regularly during the lockdown and it breaks my heart to see her suffering this way.

Answer:

Thank you for your question – it’s such an important topic because it affects so many families. I am going to respond under the assumption that your mother’s care home is properly staffed and operated with compassion. There are, unfortunately, too many facilities that are not up to that standard, and if that’s the case here, you should contact whatever authority has oversight in your state.

That being said, there is no “right time” to change a pad. The most important thing is to keep skin dry to reduce the risk of UTIs, minimize rashes, preserve the skin’s integrity and maintain the microbiome of the perineal area. That may mean changing pads more or less frequently than you might imagine.

You’re definitely doing the right thing by encouraging the care home to toilet your mom, but keep in mind that she will still have urinary accidents – and that’s OK! As long as the pad or pullup is still dry, it will preserve the integrity of the skin.

You probably won’t be able to get full control of the frequency or timing of changes at the care home because they often get emergencies and have other priorities that require more urgent attention. You can account for this by making sure that you are buying products that are highly absorbent and breathable to keep her skin dry, even when she has an accident.

Focus your energies on the things you can control – using superior products and educating the staff about checking regularly for wetness – and you’ll be taking all the right steps to keep your mother comfortable.

The NAFC Ask The Doc series provides answers to some of our reader’s most common questions from a group of experts in the fields of urology, pelvic floor health, bowel health, and absorbent products. Do you have a question you’d like answered? Click here to Ask The Doc!



Ask The Doc

The NAFC Ask The Doc series provides answers to some of our reader’s most common questions from a group of experts in the fields of urology, pelvic floor health, bowel health, and absorbent products. Do you have a question you’d like answered? Click here to Ask The Doc!

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