Home Care Medical Equipment: Skin Breakdown and Incontinence

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posted by Ted Ryan on May 28, 2013

Products and solutions for skin breakdown due to incontinence, including creams, cleansers or barriers.

This is the first post of a new monthly series in which we will introduce products designed to assist patients to live independently.  As home care specialists, we at Seniors Home Care know that incorporating appropriate personal care products is very important.  Working with and understanding these products can allow our caregivers to deliver unmatched home care services.

This month, I sat down with Ostomy and Wound Care nurses Betsy Naeger, RN, BSN, COCN, and Zoe Shepard, RN, BSN, COCN, from Medical West to discuss solutions for skin breakdown due to incontinence.

This post will discuss skin breakdown and incontinence but also focus on what makes a successful medical shopping experience.

When shopping for a medical product, the help of a professional staff is invaluable. They will:

Ask the right questions to fully understand the issue at hand.

Skin breakdown could be the result of many factors, such as bacterial infection, fungus or overexposure to moisture. Understanding which factors play a role in a particular situation will help alleviate the issue and prevent further cases.

They will inquire about the signs of irritation, several of which they mentioned include:

  • dry, flaky skin
  • red skin
  • pickled skin – that is, having  a white, soapish, grainy coating

With this information they can better recommend a product – usually a cream, cleanser or barrier – to properly clean, moisturize and preserve the skin. Wipes containing cream properties are also available and particularly helpful for bedbound patients. Some wipes even leave behind a sealer for preventing future breakdown.

Use experience and knowledge of the products available to make recommendations based on the information provided.

As the nurses analyze the issue, they may also find that using a better-suited brief or pad may prevent the skin breakdown. In this case, they refer a customer to the incontinence specialists, who will help pinpoint a more effective incontinence product. (Make sure to read next month when I meet with an incontinence specialist to discuss the products offered in detail.)

Provide samples of these products and use feedback to ensure that the best possible match is found before making a final decision and purchase.

For skin breakdown, a customer may try samples of a particular cream (note: limited quantities are available on some creams). For incontinence, it may be several different variations of briefs or pads to try and provide feedback. It’s important to have a brief that fits properly and provides the proper protection for your unique needs.

Most customers take samples home to try them on but Medical West does also offer discreet fitting rooms and discussion areas. You may also request samples over the phone and online. Everything that Medical West offers can be shipped.

Treat the customer with care and respect.

Creating an environment in which the patient feels at ease to communicate their needs, even if they are new to or embarrassed by the condition at hand, is very important.

Through this process of expert recommendations and sample testing, it is possible to get it right the first time and avoid the uncomfortable and expensive trial and error that often occurs when shopping at a generic big box retail store.

Please comment with any thoughts or questions that you have regarding this post and make sure to read next month when I will sit down with a Medical West incontinence specialist to take a deeper look at the many incontinence products that are available.

To learn more about the products that Medical West offers, or you may contact them directly at 314-993-7979, or toll-free at 866-595-7979.

You may also contact Seniors Home Care at 314-962-2666 to learn more about:

  • personal care services
  • companion/homemaker services
  • transportation services
  • nutrition services
  • many more…

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Medical Equipment
  1. Latonya


    August 21, 2015

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    after age 50. Between the ages of 40 and 50 it really is recommended either annually or every single
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  2. Taylor Bishop

    Taylor Bishop

    October 09, 2017

    Thanks for helping me learn more about home medical equipment. It’s good to know that the staff will ask questions regarding your irritation, like red skin, so that they can recommend the right product. It definitely sounds like it would be beneficial to make sure that you know how much to describe so that they can find something that fits your circumstance. Plus, it seems like it could also be a great way to learn more about the products in general as well.

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