How To Maintain Good Hygiene When Dealing With Incontinence

15 August 2017

Maintaining good hygiene is important in lots of ways, both for the individual’s physical health, their self-confidence and in helping them to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

For anyone dealing with incontinence, hygiene can become an even more important factor. When not properly dealt with it can prevent them from leaving their home, and in many instances forces them to live a solitary and lonely existence.

There are many quality products and solutions to help deal with these situations, and so education should play a major role in the individuals treatment. The bottom line is that if the person dealing with incontinence is confident and adequately informed in the use of continence products, then to all extents and purposes they can and should continue to live a happy and fulfilling life.

How To Deal With The Incontinence Odour

Stay Hydrated

Having spoken to many people who suffer from incontinence, their biggest concern is the smell of urine, and how to prevent it. A little-known fact is that fresh urine does not normally smell bad, so if there is a strong odour coming from fresh urine, it could well be indicative of some other type of problem, such as a urinary tract infection or highly concentrated urine.

If this is the case, it would be advisable to either speak to the doctor or take a urine sample to the surgery for testing. Remember it is vital to drink sufficient and keep hydrated. Fresh urine should be a light straw colour and odourless.

Urine will typically only begin to smell once it is exposed to fresh air, which is actually good news, and now we know what is causing the problem, we can find the solution.

How To Reduce The Smell of Urine

1. Find The Best Fitting Pads

As discussed above the key to reducing the smell is to prevent or at least limit the fresh air from mixing with the urine. Continence pads come in all shapes and sizes, so experiment with different makes and designs, until you find the best fitting pads. Ideally, you are looking for as good a seal as possible, whilst ensuring that the pad is comfortable to wear.

2. Change The Pad Regularly

One of the biggest issues with incontinence is that you have limited control over when you go to the toilet. That is why you need to manage your pad use, ensuring that you change it on a regular basis, at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer, or even more frequently if required.

Even if the pad is dry when you change it the purpose of changing it is as much about habit and increasing your confidence, as it is about leak and odour prevention.

3. Dispose Of Used Pads Properly

Once the used pad has been removed, it is imperative that is disposed of quickly and hygienically. Depending on your location at the time, the used pads should be placed into a specifically designed container with a sealed lid, or put into a sealed bag, which can then be deposited into a rubbish bin.

4. Wash and Change Bedding Regularly

If and when leaks do occur, and bedding or clothing gets wet, ensure that they are changed quickly, washed and laundered. This will prevent the odours from seeping into the bed, and reduce the chances of the smells establishing themselves.

5. Wash Regularly

It is important for us all to wash (either bathing or showering) regularly to maintain good hygiene. If you are incontinent this is vital. Clean healthy skin is less likely to become infected and damaged. There are many good products available that will help, which include body washes and wash creams.

There are also barrier creams available to help when skin might become compromised due to incontinence.

Carer Personal Hygiene

Being a carer is a hard and tiring job, and it can be all too easy to forget the basics yourself. Wear gloves at all times when cleaning up someone else, or assisting with changing their pads. Even though you are wearing gloves always wash your hands afterwards, to prevent infection and maintain your own personal hygiene.

As A Carer Always Consider The Person’s Dignity

Although carers have the best intentions at heart, there are certain things that they need to take into consideration when assisting another person with their personal hygiene.

Although not everyone who suffers from incontinence has memory issues, a lot of people will. They may also be slightly confused, so consider some of the following ideas.

  • They may be scared of deep water so when running a bath to clean them, explain the situation. It might be beneficial to speak to the doctor about having some sort of seat or recliner fitted, to reduce the risk of injury either to themselves or to you.
  • Many elderly people have a fear of overhead showers, so if using a shower is the only option, consider removing the shower head from the wall and slowly washing the patient from the feet up. This way they can understand the process, there will not be an immediate shock, and you will have more control over where the water goes.
  • Be prepared before you begin washing them – Whenever you have completed the washing process, the last thing you want to do is leave the person alone and unattended while they are wet and slippery. Make sure you have enough towels and clothes close to hand before you start washing them so that afterwards it is a quick and easy process to dry them and get them dressed. Preparation is not only important it is vital.

There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had from acting as or working as a carer, but it is also a challenging job. The best advice for maintaining someone else’s hygiene is to plan, be prepared and ensure you have all of the necessary items close at hand.