During the aging process, the muscles become weak and there is a chance of the patient becoming incontinent. When this happens they have very little control over their elimination process. They may wet the bed or become fecal incontinent. Precautions should be taken when this difficulty becomes apparent. You can also use a mattress cover to eliminate the possibility of ruining your mattress. Hospitals use a draw sheet, a sheet that has been folded in half and placed over the main sheet. They also put a plastic covered pad under the draw sheet to absorb any liquid, in case the patient voids.
If the patient is a man, be sure to keep a urinal close to the bed. With incontinent patients, the urge to urinate is great and immediate. Often there is no time to call the caregiver, so place the urinal where the patient can reach it.
When your patient is in a hospital bed and you have the head of the bed raised your patient will sometimes slide toward the foot of the bed. If the patient can’t back up to the proper position, the draw sheet can be used to scoot the patient toward the head of the bed. When you want to reposition the patient in the bed, have someone help you. Let the head down flat and each of you grab the draw sheet, put one knee on the bed for leverage, and to save your back, and on the count of three pull the draw sheet toward the head of the bed. The patient will be repositioned, with little strain on either of you.
It is important for you, the caregiver, to take care not to injure your back. You have to stay in good shape to be able to give good care to the patient. If you hurt yourself, someone else has to take your place while you are getting well and it might get pretty expensive.
When your patient has had a stroke, their brain may forget to send messages to the parts of their body that let them know they have to have an elimination. Consequently, it will sneak up on them and they sometimes will have a stain in their undergarment. If this gets too bad, there are undergarments made for this on the market today. Ask your druggist about them. Be sure that you always carry an extra undergarment with you in case of an accident. It is also good to carry a wet washrag in a plastic bag. It can save a lot of embarrassment to the patient.
There is an incontinence cleanser called Proshield Foam and Spray, put out by Healthpoint Medical in San Antonio, Texas. it is a gentle non-aerosol. no-rinse moisturizing foam and spray cleanser that is ideal for incontinent care. Since you don’t have to rinse it off, it is perfect for use when you are away from home. Check with your medical supply store or druggist to see if they carry it. It is wonderful.