Real Life Protection: Experts Discuss Incontinence
Carewell nursing consultant Kiera Powell shares strategies for living with incontinence through guidance from Tranquility representative, and registered nurse Judy Borsherdt.
“Caring for incontinent individuals can be extremely challenging, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Finding any advantages to help caregivers avoid getting burned out, from new care tips to finding better products, can be a game changer for themselves and for those in their care,” says Judy Borsherdt, registered nurse and representative on behalf of Tranquility.
Borsherdt, in practice as a nurse and educator for over three decades, brings her expertise in moisture management—focusing on incontinence, skin health, and wound care—to her work with Tranquility. Citing the company’s focus on designing not only for the wearer but for the caregiver as well, Borsherdt has worked with Tranquility for the last 12 years.
She joined Carewell’s nursing consultant Kiera Powell in discussion to explore tactics and strategies for living with incontinence. Here we share some key takeaways from that conversation.
What specific problems do caregivers face that Tranquility can help solve?
Better sleep - Tranquility products lock in fluid to control leaks and keep skin dry, so wearers can sleep more soundly. Tranquility offers several products with maximum absorbent capacity that can be worn all through the night, without changes. This provides caregivers with peace of mind and uninterrupted sleep for them, as well. A good night of sleep can positively impact both physical and mental health.
Fewer bed and clothing changes - Tranquility’s advanced leakage control means fewer bed strips and clothing changes, and all the physical strain and labor that goes with it.
Odor control - The SAP in the Tranquility core not only absorbs and retains fluid, it also neutralizes odor, restoring a sense of dignity for the wearer and improving the caregiver’s work environment.
Improved skin health - Keeping moisture locked in the core and away from the skin creates an environment for healthier skin. Moisture remaining on the skin for as little as 15 minutes can begin to cause rashes, itchiness, and other issues, which if not properly managed can lead to pressure Injuries.
Why is Tranquility a good option for caregivers?
“Incontinence products vary significantly from brand to brand, with different features that offer different benefits,” Borsherdt explains. “Some are more absorbent, some have better odor control, some have better leakage control, and so on. In fact, research shows that people experiencing incontinence will try three to seven different products before finding one that meets their needs. We have found that the number one benefit people look for when making their product decision is absorbency, because it impacts so many things, including skin health, sleep quality, comfort, longer product wear time, leakage, and more. And while a product’s absorbency and its absorbent capacity (or how much total fluid it can absorb) are very important, when it comes to adult incontinence products, it’s just as important to understand how much fluid a product can RETAIN.”
She continues: “Tranquility products stand out from other brands because they are designed to lock in fluid and keep it from dripping back out onto the skin, no matter what kind of movements the wearer makes or what kind of normal, everyday activities they do, like walking, sitting, lying down and standing up. Tranquility calls this feature “Real Life Protection,” and they can guarantee their products will retain fluid because of the way they are made and tested.
There is a component in Tranquility (and other brands) incontinence products called “superabsorbent polymers,” or “SAP.” SAP are tiny materials, typically beads or balls, that can absorb and lock in many times their own weight in fluid. The type of SAP, the amount of SAP, and how the SAP is placed in the product all factor into how much fluid a product can hold. Tranquility products use a high-quality SAP, in the ideal quantity that is strategically placed within the product cores, to provide superior absorbency and retention.”
Given your deep experience, do you have any tips for caregivers struggling to manage incontinence?
“Caring for individuals with incontinence is more manageable with the right products along with good hygiene and skin care practices. However, you should be aware that there are some incontinence care myths out there. Here are a few examples.
Double Diapering - People who wear two incontinence garments on top of one another may believe they are doubling the absorbency and protection of these products, but they likely are causing more harm than good. Here’s why:
1) Incontinence briefs and pull-ons have a plastic, waterproof backing to contain fluid. If you double-diaper, when the first garment fills up, the excess fluid does not simply flow through into the second garment below it. Instead, it’s more likely the excess fluid will leak out of the sides and onto clothing and furniture.
a. **Please note there are special products called booster pads that are designed to be placed into disposable briefs and pull ons, so you can wear them longer without leaks.
2) Double diapering can act like insulation, holding in heat and water vapor close to the body and creating an unhealthy environment for the skin.
3) Having two garments on can be extremely uncomfortable for the wearer.
4) It can cost twice as much
Barrier Creams - Barrier creams are meant to create a protective, waterproof layer that keeps urine away from the skin. If your incontinence product does not provide adequate absorbency and fluid retainment, a light barrier cream may provide critical skin protection. However, do not follow the common myth that “more is better.” Excess barrier cream will actually rub off onto the incontinence product and prevent urine from absorbing into it, causing leaks and unhealthy, moist skin.
Tranquility products are designed to absorb/retain with minimal, if any, use of barrier cream.
Restricting fluid consumption - Limiting what a person drinks will keep them from voiding as heavily and cut down on the number of product changes, right? Wrong!
Preventing fluid consumption can be dangerous, especially for those of advanced age.
There are other ways to reduce heavy or frequent nighttime voids:
• Drink evenly throughout the day; this makes it OK to cut back a bit in the evening
• If someone requests water, never say “no” – just moderate their intake
• Empty the bladder before final tuck-in
Tranquility Nighttime products are designed to absorb large amounts of fluid to provide extra protection while asleep.
Not all products are the same - In fact, they are significantly different. A general rule of thumb is that retail or big-box store brands are designed for individuals with light to moderate incontinence. Those managing heavy to severe incontinence, or someone who needs a longer-wearing product that doesn't break down the skin, should choose a super-absorbent product, like Tranquility. You should never settle for poor-performing products! Do your research and request product samples – they are typically free or very low-cost to try out before you buy an entire bag. Finding the right product with the right protection for your needs is critical to living your best life while managing incontinence.”
Watch the entire conversation between Kiera Powell and Judy Borsherdt