Why is continence care important for care homes


Why is continence care important for care homes

Continence care can become more relevant with age as incontinence is something that many people experience as they grow older. While this can be a cause of embarrassment for residents, our friendly and experienced team are trained to understand why this happens, and how to best help residents manage it.

As always, it is our priority to ensure that every resident can live a comfortable and confident life in their Birchwood home, and sometimes, this involves continence care. Our team will always strive to handle issues of incontinence with care and dignity, minimising any upset or awkwardness for residents. 

What does incontinence mean and what causes incontinence? 

Sources like the NHS explain incontinence as the inability to fully control your bowel and/or bladder movements. Those experiencing incontinence lose this control, leading to involuntary movements or urination. This can happen for many reasons, such as physical injuries, medical conditions, advanced age or dementia, and is thought to affect millions of people. There are various types of incontinence, including types: 

  • Stress incontinence – when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure; for example, when you cough or laugh. 
  • Urge (urgency) incontinence – when urine leaks as you feel a sudden, intense urge to pee, or soon afterwards. 
  • Overflow incontinence (chronic urinary retention) – when you’re unable to fully empty your bladder, which causes frequent leaking. 
  • Total incontinence – when your bladder cannot store any urine at all, which causes you to pass urine constantly or have frequent leaking. 

What is continence care? 

Continence care goes beyond the treatment and physical aspects of incontinence; it encompasses all areas of support required to meet the needs of the person experiencing incontinence. The nature of being incontinent can affect other areas of a person’s wellbeing, both mental and physical, which is why an effective holistic care plans should always consider all of the overarching relevant factors. 

Hence, continence care covers assessment, physical support, advice and access to appropriate equipment and supplies, such as incontinence pads, catheters, stoma bags, convenes and commodes. An assessment is often done to help establish a plan to meet the individual needs of the person experiencing incontinence. Ascertaining why the incontinence is occurring, whether it is short or long term, and understanding the relevant factors all help to pave the path forward. 

As CLH Healthcare shares, “when it comes to dealing with incontinence issues in care homes, a one size fits all approach doesn’t tend to work well. The foundation of person-centred continence care is focusing on the cause of incontinence in each individual and using this to work out a management plan.” 

 Some measures to help manage the symptoms of incontinence include: 

  • Lifestyle changes such as reducing caffeine and alcohol intake or increase in fibre; 
  • Pelvic floor exercises, where you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing them 
  • Bladder training, where you learn ways to wait longer between needing to urinate and passing urine; 
  • Toileting regimes; 
  • Catheters; 
  • Incontinence products, such as absorbent pads and handheld urinals, can also be of great assistance.  

Maintaining hygiene during continence care 

We take the matter of hygiene seriously and ensure that every team member is trained and equipped to maintain hygiene when assisting with continence care. For example, this can include the use of PPE like disposable gloves, washing the individual’s skin afterwards with warm water and products/medications where applicable, washing hands thoroughly, and disposing of used pads and gloves appropriately. 

Dignity and respect 

Applying people-centred care and treating our residents with compassion and respect is built into the foundation of Birchwood House. Our team will always work to support everyone to live happily and comfortably, and to do so with dignity. This extends to all areas of care including incontinence, as we understand that for many aging adults this is a part of life. 

Did you know that the CQC has announced a new assessment framework? Our latest blog explains more.

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