Caring for Your Patient Living with Incontinence

The strategies you can use to manage an individual’s leakage and find the right protective hygiene products.

Caring for a patient with incontinence is an incredibly personal and important job. While it's not often the reason people go into healthcare, it's one way you can directly affect someone's quality of life every day. What's more important than that?

Managing Bladder Incontinence with Your Patient

Bladder leaks shouldn't produce much of an odor when properly managed. Make sure you're changing your patient's protective hygiene products on a regular basis. You should use a fresh product when they start to feel wetness, or as often as they'd like, in order to keep them feeling fresh, dry, and comfortable. Always clean the skin thoroughly before applying a new product to prevent odor, infection, and skin irritation. Disposable adult washcloths are an excellent solution for easy clean-up, especially when on the go. With Prevail® protective hygiene, you can reduce costs while improving patient outcomes. In fact, Long Term Care Facilities that use Prevail report better rates of Urinary Tract Infections among their residents than facilities that use other products.* That's the Prevail difference at work.

Managing Bowel Incontinence with Your Patient

Bowel leaks need to be managed differently to keep your patient feeling fresh and clean. Bowel leakage will cause an odor, so you should change their protective hygiene product as soon as possible following a leak. As with bladder leaks, you need to thoroughly cleanse the skin with an adult washcloth before applying new product to prevent odor, infection, and skin irritations.

Proper Product Disposal

It's an important aspect of odor management to wrap used products in plastic shopping bags or plastic gloves before tossing them out. Also, make sure you're using a waste basket with a secure closable lid.

Managing and Treating Leaks

There are many ways you can help your patient decrease incontinent episodes, from management strategies to treatment options.

Behavioral Changes

First, try recommending simple behavioral changes to make incontinence management easier. Work with your patient to create a bathroom schedule, so they can regularly empty their bladder even when they don't "have" to go. Ensure they have easy access to a bathroom and everything they need to get there, such as a walker or a nurse's assistance. Encourage your patient to use a Bowel and Bladder Diary  to keep track of their bathroom habits and incontinent episodes. You can use this diary to track their leaks and determine a toileting schedule. Encourage them to do pelvic floor exercises and explain the benefits of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. You can learn more about these in our guide to Pelvic Floor Exercises.

Dietary Changes

Encourage your patient to limit their intake of bladder irritants to possibly help with bladder control. Talk to them about eating habits to make sure their diet and lifestyle support a healthy weight, as extra pounds can place extra pressure on the bladder. Let them know they should avoid the following diuretics:

  • Alcoholic and carbonated beverages
  • Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soft drinks
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Sugar, honey, and artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy food

While you're working with your patient to avoid these foods, you can encourage them to add more high fiber foods into their diet. Constipation can lead to incontinence, so getting more fiber can be very helpful for improved bowel function:

  • Oat bran
  • Applesauce
  • Non-irritating juices (grape, cranberry, cherry, apple)


Make sure your patient's medications aren't triggering or exacerbating incontinence, such as certain sedatives, diuretics, and narcotics. Discuss the possibility of adjusting their medication. You can learn more about specific medications and their effects on our Medications page.


Your patient may wish to pursue surgical treatment to treat their incontinence. Make sure they consult their healthcare provider to discuss the benefits and risks before committing to surgery.

Maintaining Their Lifestyle

It's important to encourage your patient to stay active and social while they're managing their leakage. The benefits of exercise for the elderly have been well studied; it's been shown to improve cardiovascular functioning and endurance, increase muscle strength, improve balance to prevent future falls, decrease joint pain, and even to improve mood. The good news is, there are many ways to help a patient maintain their quality of life while living with leaks. It's also essential to continue their usual socialization activities. With the correct protective hygiene products, your patient can and should continue to see friends and family and enjoy their favorite daily activities.

Protective Hygiene Products

Just like deodorant or toothpaste, protective hygiene can be used on a daily basis to keep your patient feeling fresh, clean, and comfortable around the clock. These absorbent undergarments can be used alone or in tandem with other treatment methods to manage leakage. As your patient works to improve incontinence, protective hygiene can help them manage moisture, odor, and freshness whenever leakage happens. See below for more information on Prevail protective hygiene products and learn how your patient's quality of life can improve with the right absorbent undergarments.

The Prevail® Promise: Innovation, Efficiency, Results

For over 25 years, we've pioneered product innovation: from being one of the first brands to offer male and female specific protective hygiene, to becoming a leading protective hygiene brand in healthcare.

Visit our tips on Managing Your Patient's Hygiene for more details on how to improve quality of care.

Prevail® Healthcare Provider Programs

Providing the best care is in our DNA. That's why we're focused not only on creating the best products, but also the best tools and programs to help you provide the most comprehensive care for your patient. Here's an overview of the tools you can use to make your job easier:

24/7 eNurse

Live video conferencing, webinars, and specialized training to help you maximize your patients' comfort, care, and protection.

Continence Coach

A program for HME Providers developed to address the protective hygiene needs of Medicaid Health Plans and Members living at home for effectively managing costs without compromising the quality of care.

Assisted Living Program

An incontinence management system that ensures high quality protective hygiene products, comfort, and dignity for senior living residents.

Hospice Program

A partnership that offers the utmost care for your patients through protective hygiene products, educational programs, and clinical support.

Resident Discharge

Custom-branded discharge program including videos, websites, and take-home information that help residents transition from your facility to their home.


A valuable resource for you and your staff to learn more about the health concerns related to leakage including skin health, falls, nutrition, infection, socialization, and mobility.

*Based on analysis of Nursing Home Compare database on, comparing publicly reported urinary tract infection rates during the period October 2016 – September 2017 among Prevail Accounts and all combined Non-First Quality Accounts, and comparing each to State and National averages. A "Prevail Account" is defined as a nursing home facility with at least thirty beds and thirty residents where at least 50% of the adult absorbent incontinence products it purchases are Prevail products. A "Non-First Quality Account" is defined as a nursing home facility with at least thirty beds and thirty residents that does not purchase any First Quality adult absorbent incontinence products. While First Quality is encouraged by the results of this analysis, it has not [yet] conducted a study to determine whether Prevail adult absorbent incontinence products can be clinically shown to reduce the risk of urinary tract infection among long-stay nursing care residents and the FDA has not approved a urinary tract infection prevention claim. Given the positive results of First Quality's analysis, however, further study is warranted


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