There is a connection between incontinence and wound care. Prolonged exposure to moisture and the chemicals found in excrement can both create wounds and negatively influence their healing time and prevent healing at all. There are two types of wounds where this is most evident: Incontinence Associated Dermatitis and Sacral Pressure Ulcers.
In the case of Incontinence Associated Dermatitis, prolonged or continuous contact with urine or fecal matter, more specifically the chemicals contained within, such as ammonia, will wear down the skin. Treating and prevention of the condition follow similar paths: reduction and preferably elimination of prolonged exposure to urine or fecal material. Using incontinence products that wick the moisture away from the skin both quickly and completely or changing soiled briefs or underpads frequently will mitigate the time the patient’s skin spends in contact with urine or fecal material. From a purely economic standpoint, time is money; using a higher quality incontinence product, allows for fewer changes. However, the literature also suggests that there is a balance between keeping the skin dry and preventing it from becoming dried out, which can lead to further skin sensitivity and issues. For this reason a third component of care, a moisturizing barrier skin cream may be in order.
While research does not support the notion that incontinence by itself can cause a Sacral Pressure Ulcer, it can be a contributing factor and can potentially slow the progress of healing. According to Suzanne Collins of Molnlycke Health Care, “Incontinence-associated dermatitis can lead to inflammation, erosion, and secondary infection… and patients with this condition can develop a pressure ulcer because excessive moisture reduces the skin’s tolerance to excessive pressure.”
Finally, the Medicaid Health Plans of America, in their 2013-2014 Best Practices Compendium, makes recommendations regarding standards for incontinence products and notes that failing to follow a set of standards can have significant negative impacts including a rise in patients requiring admission to nursing homes.
Call DDP Medical Supply to learn more about high quality wound care and incontinence products.