Practical incontinence advice for managing patients and residents

We have gathered much insight and knowledge from our many years of working in the field of continence care and personal hygiene.

Learn more about continence care by reading these practical tips

  • Patients and residents should continue to be toileted based on their individual needs
  • Incontinence products should only be used if they are needed and not just in case of an assumed incontinence.
  • TENA products should only be used by the person who has been assessed for them. 
  • The products should only be used one at a time. 
  • If you find that the wearing of incontinence products discourages some clients from using the toilet or a urinal, it may be more appropriate to use the products selectively, i.e. at specific times of day or for visits/outings. 
  • If a person is able to fit their own products, it’s important to show them how to do so correctly to ensure the products work correctly. 
  • TENA incontinence pads should be worn close to the body to prevent leakages and have a comfortable fit.
  • If the client is being toileted successfully and the wetness indicators of the products are still visible, they may be too absorbent for the client. 
  • If leakage is occurring, please ensure that the fitting technique is correct.

Healthy Bladder Tips

1. Drinking a lot of fluids 
(2-3 L/day) can result in large amounts of urine produced (polyuria) and can therefore cause feelings of urinary urgency. Those with Diabetes who experience high blood sugars (hyperglycemia) can have an increased thirst. This can lead to a desire to drink more and then a greater urine output. Better control of diabetes can reduce feelings of urinary urgency.
2. Low fluid intake can have consequences also 
Often if an individual experiences incontinence, they may cut back on fluids to avoid having an “accident”. But this can put an individual at risk of dehydration. Also, low fluid intake will cause urine to become concentrated and this can irritate the bladder lining and result in urgency symptoms. Dehydration is also a risk factor for constipation. Unless directed otherwise by a medical practitioner, one should drink 1.5 – 2 litres a day for normal hydration.
3. “Hold on” for longer 
Healthy bladder function allows one to hold on for up to 4 hours before needing to go to the toilet. If you are going more than that, you may have an “overactive” bladder and may need to” retrain” the bladder to have a higher capacity. Learning to “hold on” for longer can train the bladder and brain to improve capacity.
4. Conduct pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises will improve bladder control. If needed, a referral to a specialist continence physiotherapist could be beneficial. Follow this link for information about the exercises 
5. Reduce bladder irritants
Caffeinated drinks - tea, coffee, coke or alcohol can act as bladder irritants causing urgency or frequency; these should be avoided or reduced
6. Reduce or stop smoking
This will reduce coughing and possible leakage. This is good for the overall health also.

7. Maintain a healthy body weight 
Weight puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder causing possible urgency or frequency
8. Don’t go “just in case”
This is advised because If we constantly void just in case, we then train our brain as to what the norm is for us, and it can over time reduce bladder capacity. Voinding 4-8 times in a day is normal.

9. Avoid constipation 
Constipation can put pressure on the bladder which can cause urinary urgency or frequency. In some cases if constipation is severe, it can lead to urinary retention (and one can be unable to void). Adopting a healthy diet, that includes fibre can assist in healthy bowel movements.

10. Continence pads, pants or pull-ups
They can help manage leakage whilst an individual improves their pelvic floor or whist other causes are addressed. Pads can also help an individual to gain the confidence to hold on a bit longer, without actually needing to void. They can also give an individual peace of mind if they need to go on a long trip, attend a social outing or if an individual is unfamiliar as to where public toilets are located.  However, treating bladder concerns rather than just solving the issue with a pad alone is always recommended.