We missed last week with the holidays, but now we’re back in 2013 with a whole host of new questions. We recently brought on several new Customer Care Reps and they’ve been jumping into training. In the course of training however, they’ve asked some interesting questions to which we wanted to share the answers!
1. From a new customer: I only use two diapers per day but I re-use them to save money. Is that safe? Is Men’s Liberty is a better option?
Double dipping in your diapers can cause some serious complications and end up costing you more money in the long run. The price of most superabsorbent pads is between $0.44 and $0.86 per unit. Pads should be changed an average of 4-6 times a day, meaning that the annual expenditure for an incontinent man using pads could be as high as $4,402. Because absorbents aren’t covered by insurance, these costs are borne almost exclusively by the individual user.
So I understand the impulse to try and make your pad last a little longer and to save a little of that money. But sadly diapers are generally only designed to absorb around 16 ounces of fluid in a single episode and most do very poorly during a second urination. That can lead to leaking and embarrassing accidents.
Additionally, sitting in a wet diaper for hours is bad for your skin. The most common side effect of absorbents is Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis (IAD) which occurs in up to 25% of users[i]. Continuous use of absorbents for as little as 5 days has been shown to cause increased sweat production and compromised skin barrier function[ii]. Continuous absorbent use is also associated with an increased risk of pressure ulcers[iii].
2. What are the most common diagnoses associated with incontinence?
There are many diseases and diagnoses which are known to cause incontinence. The chart below shows a general breakdown of the male incontinence market in the US.
3. Do you have any tips for travelling with incontinence?
- Always be prepared. Make sure to have a half dozen extra Men’s Liberty catheters on hand during your trip. You never know when a flight might be delayed, your car will break down or you get stuck somewhere and need to change your Men’s Liberty device. By keeping a few extra on hand you will have the security of knowing that no matter what happens with your flight, your rental car or on your drive home you have the right fluid management solution in hand!
- Keep to your Men’s Liberty change schedule. Changing locations, time zones and sleeping patterns is normal during a trip. It’s easy to get distracted and forget. But whenever possible, make sure to maintain your Men’s Liberty change schedule. Keeping this consistent will help eliminate potential accidents caused by wearing each device too long which can result in reduced adhesion of the hydrocolloid, pop-offs or leaks.
- Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your bladder. When flying, be sure to void your bladder as completely as possible prior to boarding the aircraft. Intermittent cath if needed, even if you normally only do it once a day. The tight lap belt, changes in air pressure and potential turbulence can put a lot of pressure on your bladder and the sphincter muscles. These pressures can result in a strong, unexpected need to void or a sudden, high pressure release of urine which will fill the small Men’s Liberty collection chamber. Always connect your Men’s Liberty to a leg bag for the duration of your journey so that if you have to go, you can!
- Don’t avoid drinking fluids just to avoid your incontinence. Your body needs food and water to survive and to get the most out of your vacation! Particularly when you are travelling, you can get dehydrated easily. Not drinking may seem like a simple solution to potential incontinence but it can cause your body real, long term damage.
4. You all talk about adaptive sports a lot – why?
We talk about adaptive sports because sports are a fantastic way to extend rehabilitation out into the community. Men’s Liberty is a proud Mission: ABLE partner and sponsor of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. The roots of the Wheelchair Games go back over 60 years to the Department of Veterans Affairs. After World War II, the VA began to get involved in wheelchair sports as a method of rehab. “There was a group of vets coming back and they were disabled in their chairs and the physicians and staff were watching these vets playing, just throwing the basketball back and forth, and realizing they were seeing more function there than they were in the clinics. What was the difference? Because they were playing, they were interacting, they weren’t focusing on their pain, they were focusing on each other,” says David Tostenrude, a long-serving coach & advocate of the Games.
The first National Veterans Wheelchair Games were held in 1981 “in celebration of the international year of the disabled,” says co-founder Tom Brown. “We came up with the idea of doing a track and field event for veterans. [It] was a way to extend that rehabilitation out into the community and [help the veterans] put what they had learned in the hospital to practical use. We introduced things in sports that [they] thought that they could never do again. Watching other veterans do it and trying it themselves motivated these guys… The only limitation is in their mind because especially now with the adaptations that are possible, you really can do almost anything.
“In the military you have an unwritten code,” says Tom. “Never leave one of your own behind. It’s really obvious in the games because the older guys, the ones that have been disabled for a while, know the tricks. They’re anxious to show the new guys tricks and the new guys learn a lot, not only what they can do but what kind of new equipment is out there.”
It’s not just about the skills the competitors learn, “it’s how to apply it in the real world,” says David. “You could just see the thought processes going on about well, if I can do this, what else can I do – go to school, go to work, volunteer at my kid’s school. The doors start to open.”
5. Have you got any good jokes about incontinence?
We’ve got a couple of good one liners but fair warning – some of these are a bit rude.
- “Hi, you’re through to the Incontinence Hotline….can you hold, please?”
- Apparently incontinence IS a laughing matter because I pee a little bit every time I laugh.
- I was a bit disappointed this Christmas, I didn’t realize that the i in iPad stands for incontinence
- Leaking? Do we need to call a plumber?
- And from a truly disturbing conversation between my grandfather and grandmother: “I get it. This incontinence is revenge for my menopause.”
[i] Gray, M., “Optimal Management of Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis in the Elderly,” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2010:00 (0).
[ii] Aly, R., Shirley, C., Cunico, B., et al, “Effect of Prolonged occlusion on the microbial flora, pH, carbon dioxide and transepidermal water loss on human skin,” Journal Investifative Dermatology, 1978; 71 (6): 378-81.
[iii] BioDerm estimate, 2005, based on Pajk, Marilyn Pressure Sores. Merck Manual of Geriatrics Section 15, Chapter 124. Internet Edition provided by Medical Services, USMEDSA, USHH. Published by Merck and Co. Inc, 2000