Carer Advice

Caring for a loved one is a rewarding and fulfilling role however we understand that it can also be challenging and we hope to assist you with further advice in this section.

Incontinence Assessment:

As a carer, your role is to manage the person’s incontinence effectively so the first step is to get a professional continence assessment.

The assessment will help you manage the person’s incontinence (as there are many different types and causes of incontinence). Your doctor or health care professional can create a tailored or individual management strategy. They will take into account the living environment and lifestyle of both the caregiver and the person being cared for in order to put the best management plan in place.

It’s important that both of you attend the assessment. It’s a good idea to write down all the questions you have, as it may be overwhelming while you are there and you may not get all the answers you need.

Charts will need to be filled out by the carer or the person being cared for to show when they pass urine or have a bowel action and to let you know what type of incontinence problem the person has, it is likely that the doctor will perform a physical examination.

Detailed information will be needed regarding the person’s incontinence signs and symptoms and the doctor may ask you the following questions:

  • Description of the person’s diet and fluid intake.
  • Medical and surgical history.
  • How frequently the person needs to go to the toilet to urinate or defecate.
  • Full history of bladder and bowel symptoms.
  • Which medications are they taking?
  • Do they get up to go to the toilet during the night?
  • The estimated amount of urine they pass.
  • Description of what the faeces looks like.
  • A full list of medications including over the counter, prescription and herbal remedies.
  • The timeframe between visits to the toilet
  • Are they emptying their bladder or bowel completely?
  • If they cough or sneeze do they leak urine?
  • Do they have an overwhelming urge to pass urine or faeces?
  • The person’s ability to feed, dress or bathe on their own.
  • Can the person dress, bathe or feed on his or her own?

The more information you prepare for your doctor or healthcare professional the easier it will be when attending the assessment.

 

Management:

Depending on the type of incontinence the person has, there are a range of different management options available.

However the management plan will usually consist of the following:

  • Kegel or pelvic floor muscle exercises.
  • Increased natural spring water intake of up to two litres per day.
  • A high fibre diet to prevent constipation.
  • Bladder training.
  • Toileting program.
  • Medications including short-term laxatives to treat constipation.
  • Continence products like Allusive’s Disposable Pull Up Pants, All in One Slip Briefs, Semi Disposable Underwear, Pads and Under Pads.
  • Holistic Incontinence also has a range of cleaning and care products ranging from hand sanitisers, urine cleaners and wet wipes.
  • To prevent irritation from occurring you should wash the person’s skin afterwards, pat dry and apply a barrier cream.
  • It’s important to look out for any changes in symptoms to assist the person you are caring for. Here are a few informative tips:

     

    • Use Allusive’s Under Pads to keep the bedding dry and Allusive’s Pull Up Pants or Slip Briefs depending on the level of incontinence to ensure the person you are caring for stays dry for about 3 to 6 hours.
    • Very important note: if the person suddenly cannot pass urine, please see your doctor immediately as this may be a medical emergency.
    • See your doctor if a problem comes on suddenly to make sure it is not an infection.
    • Ensure the person is drinking enough natural spring water throughout the day, between 1500ml to 2000ml is adequate.
    • Fluids should not be consumed 2 hours before going to bed.
    • Constipation can make incontinence worse. Ensure you seek medical advice for different treatment options.
    • Be careful and wash your hands thoroughly. Even if you have been wearing gloves, you should always wash your hands after having contact with bodily fluids like urine or faeces.
    • Professional help should be found to assist with the cause and treatment options available for incontinence.
    • We recommend using a barrier cream such as Sudocrem to protect the skin from redness, irritation and bedsores.
  • It’s important to keep yourself and the person free from bacteria by keeping up a good hygienic routine throughout the day. Here are a few tips.

     

    • Use Allusive’s Under Pads to keep bedding dry and Allusive’s Pull Up Pants or Slip Briefs depending on the level of incontinence to ensure the person you are caring for stays dry for about 3 to 6 hours.
    • Diarrhoea can be caused by food poisoning or a reaction to certain medicines such as antibiotics. If diarrhoea persists for more than 24 hours, see your doctor.
    • Bowel leakage can make the skin red and very sore quiet quickly, so ensure you use a barrier cream to protect the person’s skin.
    • Protect yourself and wear gloves.
    • Allusive has a skin care range that includes wet wipes, hand sanitiser and urine free to clean surfaces spills and odours.
    • Be careful and wash your hands thoroughly. Even if you have been wearing gloves, you should always wash your hands after having contact with bodily fluids like urine or faeces.
    • Constipation can make incontinence worse. Ensure you seek medical advice for different treatment options.
  • It’s important that when caring for someone with incontinence, you pay close attention and recognise the signs of when a person needs prompt medical assistance for example:

    • Inability to urinate
    • Diarrhoea that continues for more than 24 hours
    • Loss of urinary control or sudden bedwetting
    • Chronic constipation
    • Persistent skin rash not responding to barrier creams or extreme hygiene
    • The person or carer experiencing strong negative emotions such as stress, anger or depression
  • Caring for someone can take its toll on both of you and medical treatments may take a while for management or even cure of incontinence to work. We suggest having a think about the following:

     

    • Talk to the person about their condition and remain calm and patient. Just remember they may be feeling ashamed or deeply distressed about their incontinence and being able to talk openly with someone about their situation might relieve some of their tension.
    • Try your best to keep a relaxed attitude. The treatment out there is effective however accidents still do happen from time to time.
    • Understand that you may feel discomfort and embarrassment as well. Humor can make the situation not seem so serious. Lighten the mood with a joke and always carry a smile.
    • You need to recharge and relax yourself. Plan breaks away from caring to look after yourself and keep refreshed.
    • Try to continue with activities that you enjoy. It’s important that you keep your own interests outside of your caring role to ensure you don’t burn out.
    • Don’t feel guilty for taking a break. It can be difficult for carers to switch off when they are not caring for someone however it is really important that you do care for yourself. If your health begins to suffer, you may find it difficult to continue caring for someone and this will put strain on the relationship.
    • You are not alone and there are support groups out there to help. If you are finding it too busy to catch up with friends and family, you may become very lonely which is one of the worst side effects of being a carer. Sharing your experiences with people you trust or even someone who understands your situation can take a load off your mind and be a great help to you.