THERE is good news for the estimated 66 million Americans who have become a caregiver for a loved one and the 43.5 million of those who provide care to someone over the age of 50.
While the role can be daunting, with access to the right information and resources, it is possible to make the responsibilities, and the stress that can accompany them, more manageable.
This is particularly true when it comes to monitoring a medical condition, such as incontinence, that can make providing care for an older person even more complicated.
According to Paula Erwin-Toth, director of consumer education and clinical resource specialist for Welmedix’s HomeCare PRO, when dealing with incontinence, it is important that patients and their caregivers consult a doctor to determine the underlying factors causing it.
To help, here are five things to consider when caring for an incontinent adult.
1. Be vigilant about keeping the skin intact. A break in the skin can offer a pathway to infection, discomfort and worsening health.
2. Use incontinence and skin care products designed for adults. Remember that baby skin and adult skin are very different, so age-appropriate products are important. According to Erwin-Toth, nurses use products, such as those offered by Welmedix, to help prevent incontinence-associated dermatitis and related skin problems with adults.
3. Cleanse the skin as soon as you can after an episode of incontinence. The longer urine and/or stool remain on the skin, the higher the risk of skin breakdown.
4. Leave his or her diaper open when your loved one is in bed. This can help reduce the amount of moisture that collects on the skin. Excess moisture combined with urine and/or stool can lead to skin rashes, fungal infection and breakdown.
5. Avoid an indwelling urinary catheter, if possible. The risks of a catheter causing a serious urinary tract infection are very high. A urinary tract infection in a person with other medical issues can become very serious, very fast.
It’s also important to remember that the proper interventions can dramatically improve a person’s quality of life. Use of skin cleansing and skin protection products designed for adults can help keep your loved one’s skin intact and healthy.
Welmedix HomeCare PRO, for example, is a hospital-grade line of incontinence skin care products specially designed for fragile, adult skin. For more information about incontinence and how to treat it, visit www.welmedix.com. North American Precis Syndicate