Keeping your loved one’s bed dry and comfortable throughout the night is important for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, childhood bedwetting, as well as urinary incontinence in adolescents and adults, can make this a real challenge.
Although it takes some effort to take the necessary steps to ensuring a dry bed, the benefits are numerous; a dry bed will help ensure comfort, dignity, convenience (think of all the bedding you won’t have to wash!) and, most importantly, skin integrity.
The following are the top ten things you can do to effectively prevent your linen from getting soiled nightly:
1. Bedding Protection
The first and most obvious line of defense, when keeping the bedding dry is your goal, is to protect it with a bed pad. Absorbent bed pads lie between the patient and the bedding and wick away liquid so the bedding stays dry. They come in many shapes and sizes so you can get the one that works best for your needs – and you have the option of choosing cost-effective, environment friendly reusable pads or the convenience of single-use disposable chucks. Here’s an in-depth guide for choosing the correct incontinence pads.
2. Mattress Protection
If you’re concerned that a bed pad won’t always keep the bedding perfectly dry, consider doubling up your protection with a washable mattress cover or pad that will prevent the mattress from getting soiled or damaged by the occasional leaks. Although this option won’t keep your linen dry, it will keep the mattress protected and give it a longer life.
3. Wearable Protection
When a child is suffering from bedwetting issues, his or her parents may want to avoid diapers while attempting to train their child. However, if urinary incontinence is the cause for nighttime leaks, adult diapers with tabs (also known as adult nappies) may be a good option to prevent the patient from soiling themselves and their beds on a nightly basis. Other options include incontinence pads, belted undergarments and pull upunderwear.
4. Provide Easy Access to the Toilet
Once you have taken the necessary steps to protect your linen, it’s time to consider lifestyle changes that can help minimize the bedwetting issue altogether. To start, consider whether the child or adult has easy safe access to a bathroom. This is especially important when dealing with young children, patients with dementia, or individuals with disabilities. Maintain proper lighting, keep pathways clear at all times, and, where necessary, install a raised toilet seat or purchase a bedside commode so that your loved one can always get to the bathroom safely and in time.
5. Monitor Liquid Intake
Although you may think that limiting liquids would lessen urinary incontinence issues, the truth is that proper hydration is an important way to maintain bladder health and can actually decrease urinary incontinence episodes. However, hydration should be done throughout the day and tapered off at evening time so that fluid intake is limited during the last hours before bedtime to give the bladder a break for the night.
6. Void before Bedtime
Voiding fully before bedtime is a simple but important way to help prevent nighttime leaks. You may want to encourage double voiding: urinating, waiting a few minutes, and then trying again to ensure the bladder is completely empty.
7. Monitor Bowel Movements
If constipation becomes an issue for your loved one, it may impair their ability to void their bladder fully, leading to nighttime overflows. By helping them stay regular, you can save yourself from unnecessary bedwetting-related aggravation.
8. Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeine has been shown to increase the rate at which urine is produced and is therefore wise to avoid or at least limit – especially close to bedtime. Caffeinated products that may cause issues include coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, energy drinks and cocoa.
9. Use a Bedwetting Alarm System
Incontinent children or adults who have been bedwetting since childhood (medically referred to as primary enuresis) may benefit from a bedwetting alarm, which can help train your loved one to associate a full bladder with the need to get up and go to the bathroom. When used consistently for several weeks, this method has been proven very effective.
10. Consult a Medical Professional
As with all medical concerns, it is important to discuss bedwetting issues with your doctor, who can help diagnose underlying causes and ensure effective treatment. Although it may be difficult or embarrassing to discuss, remember that doctors are there for their patients and will never judge you or your loved one.
As the caregiver, remember to remain encouraging and supporting of your loved one through this difficult challenge, and with the help of the above tips, you’ll be on the way to dry, stress-free nights sooner than you might imagine.
About The Author
Hanna Landman lives in New Jersey with her husband and children. She works for AvaCare Medical, one of the nation’s largest online medical supply stores servicing seniors and the homebound across the US. She specializes in adult incontinence solutions and writes for AvaCare Medical’s blog on all topics related to incontinence, caregiving, senior living and more.