While most people know NAFC as a provider of education and support to those who live with incontinence, did you also know that we work tirelessly to raise awareness of the condition, and to ensure that you have quality products to manage the condition?
For many years, NAFC has been on a mission to ensure that all adult absorbent products made in the US adhere to certain quality standards. Why is this an issue? Simply put, not every absorbent product is equal. Some work better than others, and this can create several problems:
- Cost to the Patient. Inferior absorbent products are simply not as absorbent, which can result in the need for frequent changes. If you’re constantly changing products, it’s going to cost you a lot more money.
- Skin Irritation. Inferior products don’t do as good of a job at keeping the skin dry. Left in a wet product for too long, skin can become damaged, irritated, or infected. This can lead to an increase in skin irritation or more serious conditions like UTI’s or skin dermatitis
- Medicaid supported products. Those who rely on Medicaid to help pay for absorbent products are at a disadvantage too, since these decisions are typically based solely on price, resulting in the use of cheap and often lower quality products.
- Confusing Choices. With so many products on the market, caregivers and patients have a hard time weeding through the good from the bad.
All of this can lead to a negative overall impact on the quality of life for users and their families. This is why NAFC is fighting to get every state to adopt a set of standards that absorbent manufactures must follow.
These recommended standards include the following:
- Instill A Ceiling For Rewet Rate. Rewet rate is a measure of a product’s ability to withstand multiple incontinent episodes between changes. It is the ability of the product to prevent the skin from being “rewet” by bodily fluids and is essential in skin protection.
- Evaluate Rate Of Absorption. This refers to the amount of time it takes for a product to absorb a given amount of fluid and is important in reducing the amount of time skin is exposed to moisture following an incontinent episode. The more skin is exposed to moisture, the greater chance it has of becoming irritated.
- Set Limits on Retention Capacity. Retention capacity measures a product’s ability to hold fluid without leaking. This is important not only in preventing leaks (isn’t that why you use absorbents in the first place?) but also in protecting the skin from increased moisture.
- Ensure That Sizing Options Are Available. Because fit is an important factor in reducing the chance for leaks, sizing options matter. NAFC recommends that each state ensure that there is a variety of sizing choices available for patients to choose from to ensure the best possible fit.
- Account For Varying Levels Of Absorbency. Not everyone experiences the same amount of leakage, so multiple options should be available to patients. Choosing the right level of absorbency can help protect the skin, reduce product waste, and optimize cost.
- Use Safe Materials. Believe it or not, not every manufacturer uses high quality products to create their absorbency products. As part of the NAFC initiative, we recommend that none of the components in an absorbent product, including additives, be listed in any federal regulatory agency as “unsafe”.
- Include Closure Systems on Briefs and Protective Underwear. Closures help patients in a couple of different ways – it promotes a better fit, and also reduces waste by making it easier to check for wetness without having to throw out the product.
- Build In “Breathable Zones”. Ensuring that enough air is allowed to flow in and out of the product reduces heat and humidity within the absorbent product, making it more comfortable and safe for the skin.
- Institute Good Elasticity In Products. Elasticity may not seem like a big deal, but it helps to provide a comfortable and snug fit when wearing briefs or protective underwear. This can be especially important to those who experience chronic, loose bowels or diarrhea.
Currently, only NAFC has published standards for disposable absorbent products and there are no national quality standards for adult disposable absorbent products. Without national standards, caregivers and providers of adult absorbent products are forced to make incontinence product purchasing decisions with limited knowledge or understanding of product efficacy. This creates added waste (in terms of product, and wasted dollars), and can create health issues for patients as well. NAFC is working to make it easier for states to adopt these standards, and we need your help.
What You Can Do.
Help NAFC fight for these national standards to ensure that everyone has access to high quality products.
- Pledge your support. Help to ensure that Medicaid recipients who rely on incontinence goods receive quality products that are appropriate for their specific condition! Please sign the NAFC’s petition, urging your state to adopt and implement NAFC’s "Quality Performance Standards for Disposable Adult Absorbent Products".
To find your state's pledge of support, click here.
- Make a donation. NAFC and the Council for Quality Absorbent Products are fighting to ensure that national quality standards are in place for adult disposable absorbent products. Please donate now to help us ensure that every state adopts these national standards.
For a historical overview of NAFC’s Standards initiative, please review the published journal article as well as original suggested test methods. Please note that the test methodologies related to NAFC’s Performance Standards for Disposable Absorbent Products for Incontinence have since been defined, documented and published by INDA and appear in The Harmonized Test Methods of the Nonwovens and Related Industries, 2012 Edition, published by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and EDANA, International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries and The Harmonized Test Methods of the Nonwovens and Related Industries, 2015 Edition, published by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and EDANA, International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries. Click here for a list of current INDA test methods as related to NAFC’s Performance Standards for Disposable Absorbent Products for Incontinence.