How to do it... Incontinence care

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1 An interdisciplinary team effort is critical for bringing confidence to an individual's campaign, numerous experts emphasize. Caregiving should be a seamless, well-coordinated effort.

2 Firm knowledge and understanding of the causes of incontinence also will bolster the coordinated effort.
“Having a good understanding will make all involved more proficient in the type of care needed and alleviate some of the daily caregiving stress,” notes Sherry Golla, RN, BSN, a veteran long-term care consultant for GOJO Industries.

“Education and staff training are key for caregivers, backed up with tools and tips that support their process and save them time,” add experts at SCA TENA.

3 The interdisciplinary caregiving effort should be established from the assessment process through to the actual hands-on care that is being delivered, they continue.

“Simple but clear and consistent processes are vital to building a successful program for incontinence management,” they explain. “Managers have to listen and understand the challenges in their homes, and the strong support must come from management to support the programs and ensure compliance.”

4 Keep in mind that “education” also pertains to residents and loved ones.

“Residents and family members should be educated on their incontinence management program, and how the facility team will attempt to improve their highest level of achievable continence,” note the SCA experts.

Communication of “thoughts, feelings and knowledge between all team members is essential," adds GOJO's Golla.
Openly discuss incontinence and treatment plans “so everyone is on the same page,” advises Cynthia Holland, director of clinical services for Attends Healthcare.

5 Of course, choosing and using efficient, proper products is a vital step to delivering confidence-building care.
“Provide the resident with the security of quality products selected to meet their individual needs and prevent leakage and increase self-esteem,” Holland says.

Other experts agree that proper product choice goes a long way in determining attitudes — again, in both residents and caregivers.

“Quality and quantity of incontinence supplies, from briefs to preventative creams/ointments, are important to be available for use when needed,” notes Golla. “Using quality supplies and always having a sufficient quantity conveys thoughts of concern and care.”

6 Other aspects of attitude are critical. “Patience and dedication, from ALL who partake in this challenging and demanding task of maintaining ‘dryness,' is a necessity,” Golla reminds.

“Team members need to accept the challenge that disappointments can and will occur but be motivated to continue on striving to achieve the goal of ‘quality care with compassion.'”

7 Experts are unanimous in another element that is needed: dignity.

“Promote dignity at all times,” emphasizes Holland. “Be discreet when a resident has had an incontinent episode in a public place, such as the dining room.

“When a resident says, ‘I need to go to the bathroom,' treat it as a top priority,” she adds. “Don't let them wait.”

8 Experts agree that timely responses to call lights and requests for toileting are critical, as are being prompt for scheduled checks and allowing adequate time for toileting.

Special attention must be given to residents with other conditions that might hamper communication, Golla adds.

“Monitor residents with verbal difficulties for behavioral cures that may identify signs of a full bladder – such as fidgeting, yelling out and attempting to ambulate,” she says. “Never yell or humiliate if an incontinent episode occurs.”

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