By DEANNA VIGLIOTTA
According to a study of 8.3 million Medicare beneficiaries, falls are a leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among elders (Medscape Medical News 5.24.19). Elders, whether aging in place and/or living in senior living communities, can reduce their risk of pressure sores, reduce their risk of falls, reduce their risk of UTI’s, and subsequently reduce hospital readmissions by choosing the right incontinence products.
While we should be viewing adult incontinence products as a critical component of healthcare, my hunch is that many people are still viewing adult diapers as a commodity, ie. a package on a shelf with a price tag. I am convinced that with a significant shift in the way we view the importance of choosing high-quality incontinence products, elders and their caregivers will fare better with incontinence challenges and skin care related issues.
Follow me here and you will better understand just how important it is for elders to be wearing the right products. Let’s talk about pressure sores. Fully breathable products that allow the skin to breathe will reduce pressure sores and yet there are few choices on the market today that offer full breathability. Without breathability, the person wearing the product may get skin irritations and skin breakdowns. Medical costs related to treating pressure sores range anywhere from $500 to $70,000, according to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, depending on the stage and severity. In addition, the pain, worry, and ancillary negative effects are staggering. Not only is wearing a fully breathable product important, choosing skin care products and washcloths that protect elderly thinning skin is equally as important. Transparent barrier creams and “no water needed” cleansing creams, for example, can aide in reducing risk.
Super absorbent products are key in helping elders sleep through the night. Restorative sleep, the term meaning 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep that allows a person to go through the 4-5 sleep cycles, has proven benefits, ie. cell regeneration, tissue healing, hormone regulation, more alert in the morning, etc. If an incontinent elder is wearing a product that keeps them dry longer and is comfortable (soft non-wovens), the likelihood of them staying in bed at night is greater. If they stay in bed, they reduce their risk of falling during the night, whereas others wearing a less absorbent product may wake up in the night, wet and uncomfortable. In turn, that elder gets up out of bed groggy and thus a fall may happen. Falls are a leading contributor to hospital admissions.
Super absorbent products may also reduce the risk of UTI’s in elders if they are wearing a high-quality product with a double absorbent core that locks in urine while decreasing bacterial growth. In addition, high quality incontinence products require fewer changes. Fewer changes equal fewer gloves needed and gives time back to caregivers. These positive ripple effects of using high-quality products provide significant overall financial value too.
I often wonder if more conversations should be taking place between healthcare providers and elders being discharged from hospitals about incontinence products being used at home. If they aren’t, they should be. Why risk a readmission due to an elder going home using an inferior incontinence product? It’s time we make this conversation a part of the discharge planning to help reduce hospital readmissions and better understand the importance of using high-quality incontinence products. With our elderly population living longer, quite simply, we need to.
Deanna Vigliotta has 30 years of experience in healthcare sales and joined Seni in early 2019 to educate people about high quality adult incontinence products. Seni products are new to the U.S. market. Seni is a brand under TZMO SA, a medical hygiene manufacturing company based in Poland. Prior to joining Seni, Deanna spent many years in the Diagnostic Imaging field both in sales and management roles. A Boston native, Deanna has lived in central Florida for 16 years. She can be reached at Deanna.firstname.lastname@example.org