Managing Your Patient's Incontinence

A guide to managing your patient’s health with the help of protective hygiene.
Helping your patient put on protective hygiene products or clean up after experiencing leaks takes patience and trust. Establishing that trust is important to make life easier for everyone in the long run. Remember to be empathetic, kind, and discreet – and remind your patients that leaks are very common, affecting 25 million Americans each year. They may feel uncomfortable getting help initially, but once they realize you're the expert and you show them respect and professionalism, they'll feel more at ease and be able to move forward with your caregiver/patient relationship.

How to Apply Protective Hygiene Products Properly

When used correctly, Prevail® protective hygiene products allow wearers to lead an active life with comfort, cleanliness, and confidence. In fact, Prevail is the #1 ranked protective hygiene brand in healthcare.* 

However, proper product application is essential. Learn how to apply a protective hygiene product here:

Make sure your patient is wearing the correct product and size for their needs. Our products are most effective when they rest snuggly against the body. Never use more than one product at a time. While wearing multiple products may seem more protective, it actually hinders the absorbency process and can cause product leakage. 

Changing the Product

When a person wears a product for too long, moisture and bacteria can build up and irritate the skin, so it's important to change out your patient's protective hygiene products when needed; whenever they feel wetness, or whenever they experience bowel leakage. It's helpful to note that customers used almost 2 fewer products per day after switching to Prevail protective hygiene products.** This will make your job a little easier and interfere less with your patient's activities.

Bladder Leaks

For bladder leakage, products should be changed once your patient feels wetness. Briefs contain a wetness indicator that changes color when a fresh product is needed. Individuals with heavier bladder leakage may require more frequent protective hygiene changes. 

Bowel Leaks

For bowel leakage, protective hygiene products should be changed as soon as possible after an incident has occurred. When left on the skin, fecal matter can cause skin irritation and discomfort. 

The Importance of Perineal Care

Each time you change a product, be sure to thoroughly cleanse the areas that came into contact with leakage or the product, particularly the genital and anal regions. Be sure to wipe from front to back to avoid the spread of bacteria. This pericare is essential to maintaining healthy skin and avoiding rashes and other skin issues. Disposable Prevail adult washcloths are also recommended for quick, effective clean-up between changes. 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.***

Skin Irritation Related to Incontinence

A skin rash or Incontinence Associated Dermatitis is caused by urine and stool being left on the skin for too long, resulting in damage. Skin irritations can also occur when protective hygiene isn't applied properly. If the skin is "scalded" at the mid-thigh area, the product may be too loosely secured. Make sure that you position the product close to their body for a snug fit. If the skin is blistered at the upper thigh area, make sure the leg openings are positioned correctly. These openings should rest on the natural creases of the groin.  And if your patient is non-mobile, make sure you reposition them frequently to allow the skin to breathe. If your patient already has a rash, you can help relieve it by applying topical solutions or corticosteroids.

If you're applying the product correctly but your patient is still experiencing a rash, other factors are likely causing it. Reach out to an eNurse to learn more about what might be causing the irritation. 


To remove the smell of urine from clothing, add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your wash load. Then, use the hottest water the fabric can handle. Always be sure to follow the instructions printed on the tag of the clothing. To help prevent odor, Prevail products include Odor Guard, which helps neutralize odors before they even start. Customers who switched to Prevail protective hygiene products reported less urine odor.**** In fact, Customers reported a 39% reduction in instances of excessive urine odor after switching to Prevail.*****

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Incontinence can increase the risk of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). To reduce the risk, provide proper skin care by cleansing the genital and anal area after each incontinent episode and between product changes. Remember to always wash from front to back to avoid the spread of bacteria. Prevail Adult Washcloths are an excellent solution for easy clean-up, especially when on the go.

Night Time Wear of Protective Hygiene

People with heavy leaks are encouraged to wear products at night for optimal comfort, protection, skin health, and more restful sleep. For individuals with intact skin, Prevail Extended-Use Briefs offer increased absorbency and protection to improve a wearer's comfort, skin integrity, and quality of sleep. You'll be happy to learn that customers reported a 44% reduction in night time product leaks after switching to Prevail.****** The less you need to wake them up at night for product leaks and changes, the better health they'll maintain. If you'd like additional protection during the night, you can use underpads to shield their bed from leaks.


If you're concerned about the performance of your patient's protective hygiene, we're here to help. Take a look at these troubleshooting guidelines to ensure that you've applied the product properly and that they're wearing the right product in the ideal size. 

Product Selection

You should select a product based on your patient's sex, type of incontinence, and level of leakage. If they're leaking though the product, they may need to try something with higher absorbency or a smaller size. Please read through the Choosing the Right Product page to make sure you selected the best product for their needs.

Size Selection

Use our Height/Weight Charts to make sure your patient is wearing the right size. You should have their current measurements handy and make sure they're accurate. Adding a few inches or shaving off a few pounds can be tempting, so make sure your patient hasn't doctored their dimensions. If they're reluctant to share their measurements, remind them again that you're a professional and that accurate sizing is critical for product performance. Products that are too small will be uncomfortable and products that are too large will leak due to sagging. 

Doctor Knows Best

Don't feel as though you need to solve everything by yourself. When in doubt, reach out to your patient's main healthcare provider for further answers and knowledge of their treatment options. You can also access our online eNurse 24 hours a day for answers to urgent questions. At Prevail, we're here for you as you care for the people who matter most.

*in market share by both units sold and dollars spent, based on data from GHX covering the last 4 quarters reported (Q1'17-Q4'17), wherein Healthcare is defined as Home Healthcare and Long Term Care combined and protective hygiene is defined as absorbent products for the management of incontinence in adults.

**according to a survey conducted in Q4 2017 among 128 caregivers and patients using absorbent adult incontinence products in the home

***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

****according to a survey conducted in Q4 2017 among 128 caregivers and patients using absorbent adult incontinence products in the home

*****according to a survey conducted in Q4 2017 among 128 caregivers and patients using absorbent adult incontinence products in the home

******according to a survey conducted in Q4 2017 among 128 caregivers and patients using absorbent adult incontinence products in the home


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