How Often Should Nursing Homes Change Diapers

There are a couple of factors that need to be taken into account while determining how often to change an adult diaper.

The primary factor is the health and lifestyle of the person older adult wearing them.

A healthy, active person does not need to change the adult diaper frequently, but on the other hand, an older, bedridden person will have to change their adult diaper more frequently.

This is because an active individual is able to tell when they want to go to the loo while others are completely incontinent and don’t know when they need to pee.

Nursing home

We understand that a lot of times, nursing staff in an assisted living facility are pressured by the management to reduce the number of adult diapers used; a decision solely taken on budgetary concerns.

However, this means that your beloved elderly adult may be sitting in soiled diapers longer than necessary, causing health issues ranging from a diaper rash to urinary tract infection.

Incontinence and Adult Diapers

Generally, an elderly resident in a nursery home with urinary incontinence will need a diaper change six to eight times a day.

It goes without saying that when an elderly patient is diagnosed with urinary incontinence, the family member or caregiver in the assisted living facility should immediately change their soiled diaper.

Otherwise, there is a high chance that the elderly adult who is left wearing a soiled diaper develops problems including skin breakdown that can give rise to life-threatening infections.

Hygiene is the watchword here, and the nursing staff should ensure that the patient‘s skin is cleaned well while changing the diaper and new ones put on.

This applies each and every time you need to change the soiled diaper, even if you change it immediately. Otherwise, the patient can suffer from skin conditions, causing further problems to their health.

There are incontinence products like wipes that are specially made to deal with the skin in this area and can be found on online sites that sell adult incontinence products.

These incontinence products are gentle to the elderly’s sensitive skin; the wipes are free from harsh chemicals and abrasion and will help keep the bedridden patient’s skin and private areas clean and free from pressure sores.

Check the adult diapers every four hours if the patient is suffering from incontinence.

Changing Diaper

Every four hours is necessary, and every two hours is most recommended. But, the reality is that long term care homes are understaffed and the nursing home staff are overworked, and some nurses neglect to take care of the incontinent residents the way they should be!

If you are a nursing home staff, we would recommend that you go by trusted sources, which say not to go by smell, rather, go by sight and feeling; use medical gloves to check whether the incontinent residents have soiled their adult diaper.

Now, some adult diapers have a line going down the middle. This line changes color when the wearer urinates and claims to be helpful to the caregiver.

We found reviews from the nursing home staff who voted that these adult diapers are unreliable. Most of the urine may end up around the patient‘s bottom making it impossible to see. It is best to physically open the brief and possibly turn them in to check if it is soiled.

Note: While checking, if you happen to notice that a patient has not urinated in more than eight hours, it may be a good idea to scan their bladder.

There is no hard and fast answer for how often should nursing homes change diapers, but we can help you get a fair idea by listing out some conditions for changing:

Take into account the material of the diaper

For cloth diapers and vinyl pants: If the urine has collected to a point that the diaper is no longer absorbing the wetness, you need to change the adult diaper immediately.

If it is a disposable diaper, check the diaper after the patient wets it for the second time. If it feels heavy, change immediately. If you neglect to change a disposable diaper soon after it gets thoroughly wet, the urine will flow out and down the pants leg and will show through as a wet spot on the outer clothing.

Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL)

Accidental Bowel Leakage is a surprisingly common problem, particularly in women over the age of 40.

According to the US government sources, fifteen million women over the age of 40 experience ABL, and reports state that 50% of those women do not speak up about it.

Best Incontinence Products For Elderly

Accidental Bowel Leakage can happen at unexpected, inconvenient times. For the most part, ABL does not affect an individual severely. Also, many studies point to the fact that ABL is pretty common in the U.S., with 7.4% of adult men and 6.9% of adult women suffering from minor fecal incontinence.

Fecal incontinence is defined as staining underclothes or leaking or losing less than 2 teaspoons of stool.

According to statistics, ninety percent of people with ABL experienced only light to moderate leakage. Of course, we are not turning a blind eye to the discomfort and inconvenience caused by even light to moderate leakage in an older adult.

It is frustrating and bothersome for the caregiver as well since they have to keep checking the disposable diaper if the patient is bedridden. Finding the right absorbent products for incontinent residents is key here. With the right absorbent products, the nursing staff can ensure adequate hygiene for the bedridden patient in the assisted living facility.

Here are some pointers that will help you choose the right products to treat adult incontinence.

Finding the Right Incontinence Product

Flexibility

There are many factors to consider when choosing an absorbent product. One factor is the amount of flexibility offered; choose one that matches the activity levels of the elderly residents in the long-term care home. For people in a care facility, it is best to choose a unisex product or one that is gender-specific. Keep a sharp eye on the sizing, and absorbency level, which is determined by the material of the diaper.

Diaper Style

Another important aspect is the diaper style (tab-style or pull-on); the caregiver can choose which they prefer to use. Also, take into account the older adult‘s preference for disposable or reusable products.

Diaper Style

Some trial and error are usually necessary for finding the right product. You may find that one product is best for containing leaks overnight, while another diaper provides a slimmer profile and is apt for outings during the day, ideal for activities like walking and light exercise.

Price

Our advice is that you do not look at the price tags first. Choose one based on your elderly adults’ needs. You may find that a pricier product is more durable and provides better protection, therefore requiring fewer changes and costing less in the long run.

Note: Keep in mind that many incontinence product manufacturers offer free samples and coupons that can help you through the trial phase enabling you to save on money before you settle on the final product.

Material

The next point to consider when choosing the right adult diaper is the material. Some diapers have plastic backings. The plastic backing diapers provide more protection from leakage, but we know that many of the older adults do not like how bulky these adult diapers feel on them.

In this case, you can choose a non-plastic backed diaper. These adult diapers are called breathable diapers. As the name suggests, these adult diapers allow more air to circulate and cause less frequent issues with rashes. As we mentioned, the drawback is that these diapers are not fully leak-resistant.

Skin Condition

Sitting in urine and fecal matter can be very damaging to sensitive skin and the condition cannot be overlooked. The best course of action is to change the patient’s soiled briefs and liners when wet, and the private areas must be gently cleaned and dried.

Look for incontinence products that effectively trap and wick moisture away from the skin and feature soft, breathable lining. Application of a skin barrier ointment can further protect the area from moisture and prevent irritation.

Size

Another consideration for choosing the right adult diaper is selecting a proper diaper size. Using an adult diaper that is too small results in the patient not getting the required coverage. Now on the other hand, if the diaper is too large, there will be gaps that result in leakage of urine or fecal materials, leading to soiled clothing or bed linens.

To select the right sized brief or pull up, get an accurate measurement of the person’s waist size. Once you know the waist size, then you can review the sizing charts of the different brands. Not all brands have the same waist size so make sure to check the sizing of each product.

Absorbency

There are varying degrees of adult briefs for light to maximum incontinence; some can hold up to a cup of liquid and others can hold up to 13 cups of liquid.

Diaper Absorbency

If you are only dealing with a mild incontinence issue, an incontinence pad coupled with an incontinence pant would suffice. If you are dealing with complete bladder loss or fecal incontinence, you will need a more heavy-duty absorbency that is found in an adult brief. 

A great deal of adult diaper selection is a matter of personal preference, however, you also need a product that will protect and absorb, allow the skin to breathe as much as possible, and be discreet as to allow dignity

We hope that the information has been helpful to ascertain how often you need to change adult diapers, and how to select the right products for incontinence patients.

Do let us know what tips you found enlightening in the comments below!

About Aswathy Suresh