THE HIDDEN COST OF INCONTINENCE
A $20 Billion Dollar Question
Let’s talk about the costs of urinary incontinence. There are many articles on how the costs of incontinence affect women; however, we want to dive into how those costs affect men and the challenges that both men and women face when dealing with incontinence. In the US, “the economic price tag of incontinence is more than $20 billion per year,” this is because incontinence products aren’t a one-time purchase. Instead, incontinence products are repeat purchases, plus the added cost of doing laundry more often and purchasing laundry products more often.For sure, urinary incontinence is stressful for both the person dealing with the issue and the caregiver. In addition, it can be isolating and can lead to other medical problems.
Products: The Usual Suspects
IIncontinence is a fixable problem that doesn’t have to interfere with everyday activities. When we talk about incontinence-related products, the first things that come to mind are likely diapers and pads, but far more products are required to keep the individual healthy and comfortable.
- Adult Diapers
- Barrier Creams
- Absorbent Underwear
- External Catheters
Many of these products are used together and add up, not to mention that products such as catheters are invasive and can easily lead to infection. Skin integrity is also of the utmost importance when considering what products to use for incontinence as you don't want to add antibiotics for skin damage to the growing list of expenses.
Laundry: Rinse and Repeat
When it comes to incontinence, overnight accidents become more likely to happen. More frequent overnight accidents lead to more frequent loads of laundry. More loads of laundry mean having to purchase detergent more frequently, which also means higher electricity and water bills. The need to do more frequent laundry can quickly become another added stress in an already stressful situation, particularly when you’re sharing a bed with the person dealing with urinary incontinence.
Skin health is always a concern when a person is dealing with urinary incontinence. This is due to the urine’s ability to cause the breakdown of skin and other skin-associated infections. Moisture Associated Skin Damage (MASD) and Dermatitis are major negative effects of when products used for incontinence only absorb, but do not wick. A product that wicks, will pull that moisture away from the skin and keep a healthy skin surface.
- Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD): this is a form of dermatitis that develops due to regular exposure to urine or stool.
- Moisture-Associated Skin Damage (MASD): this refers to the general inflammation or skin or skin erosion caused by prolonged exposure to any source of moisture such as urine, stool, sweat, saliva, mucus, or wound discharge.
- Pressure Ulcers: these are injuries to the skin and tissue that happen due to resting in a position for too long. Pressure ulcers are also known as bedsores.
- Yeast Infection Rashes: While easily treated, they cause bright red bumpy rashes.
These skin problems can lead to pain and discomfort for the individual dealing with incontinence and can increase medical bills by requiring more frequent visits to your doctor and the need to spend more on medications and creams.
Other Health Issues
Skin isn’t the only thing at risk when dealing with incontinence; we must also consider infections that arise, such as UTIs and CAUTI, and an increased risk of falls.
CAUTI (Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection) and UTIs are common among people with urinary incontinence. UTIs are the most common type of healthcare-associated infection, 75% of which are associated with catheters. With many being cared for at home, acquiring CAUTI is no longer a problem only seen in hospitals. Untreated, CAUTI can lead to bladder, prostate, and kidney infection.
High Risk Fall / Accidents and falls are common among incontinent adults 65 and older. Falls can cause serious injuries that lead to fractures and head trauma, and sometimes these calls can be fatal. In addition, these falls may result in more frequent hospital trips. The CDC estimates that urinary incontinence-related falls account for approximately $2k-$8k of hospital costs.
Bedside Caregivers experience their own physical ailments such as back, shoulder, and neck injuries when trying to assist their loved ones in lifting, rolling, and repositioning during the process of changing out briefs or diapers, or when having to change linens.
An often overlooked aspect of incontinence is the effect that it has on mental health. Individuals dealing with urinary incontinence are more likely to isolate themselves and suffer from anxiety and depression. Though this affects both men and women dealing with incontinence, men are far less likely to ask for help. When we consider that 1 out of every five men over the age of 60 deals with urinary incontinence and that they are reaching out for support at a drastically lower rate, it’s clear why so many men are silently dealing with depression and anxiety.Some signs that you or your loved one is experiencing anxiety or depression:
- Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- Everyday activities feel daunting
- Sex life suffers
- Affected sleep
- Avoiding doing the things you enjoy doing
Options For Support
- Therapy: if your symptoms have been severe, professional help can be incredibly beneficial. A therapist can help figure out ways to work through your problems.
- Support groups: a safe space to discuss with other men what you’re going through. There are also support groups for caregivers, both online and in person. We even have our own for caregivers and users of the QuickChange Wrap.
- Talking to your partner: opening up to your partner helps give them the opportunity to support you and avoid secrecy that could affect your relationship.
If you’re dealing with depression and don’t know who to talk to you can contact the SAMHSA National Helpline, they have both English and Spanish speakers available, 1-800-662-4357.
Many of the issues we’ve discussed in this article can be avoided using the QuickChange Wrap. Our wrap was designed for the semi to non-ambulatory men dealing with urinary incontinence. The QuickChange Wrap literally wraps around the penis; it saves time (apply in less than 60 second), prevents urine from coming into contact with the skin, and only requires one person to change, with limited to no physical exertion.
QuickChange Wraps were designed with the user and caregiver in mind. QuickChanges are designed to collect urine before it comes into contact with the skin and significantly reduce the risk of any skin health issues. When wearing diapers/briefs, urine runs down between the thighs and pools under the buttocks, and sometimes mixes with feces creating more infections before being absorbed by the brief. QuickChanges are open at the top in order to release heat and moisture and keep air flowing, unlike briefs.
Give us a call today at 1-800-206-2816 to find out more, or to talk to an Educator, or visit us at www.quickchange.com. Try the QuickChange Wrap by ordering a sample pack, only $4.99, right from our website. If you’re dealing with any concerns regarding your incontinence or your loved one’s and how it’s affecting everyday life, contact your clinical advisor.
Elite Note - LINK
Advances in Skin & Wound Care, LINK
NHS - LINK
Saint Lukes - LINK
Urology Health, https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/u/urinary-incontinence
Wound Source: https://www.woundsource.com/patientcondition/moisture-associated-skin-damage-masd