TALKING TO PATIENTS ABOUT INCONTINENCE
Learn what a professional caregiver can do to make talking with patients about incontinence a more comfortable and productive discussion.
TALKING TO PATIENTS
For those who have taken on the vitally important, and at times, seemingly thankless role of caregiver, please know that your job is invaluable. Dealing with urine and excrement is not an appealing task and for the patients, it is more than just an unpleasant situation. It is embarrassing. It is humbling to say the very least. For many, it is humiliating. So while most patients are truly grateful for your assistance, it may be difficult for them to express their feelings of appreciation.
There are things that you as the professional caregiver can do to make this a better situation for your patient as well as yourself.
By making the discussion about incontinence part of the daily routine, it can remove the stigma and place it where it belongs—part of the everyday conversation.
Asking patients specific questions will allow them to be part of the situation as opposed to just something you have to take on yourself.
Acknowledge how difficult this subject might be to bring up, without telling the patient how they should or should not feel. “Do not feel embarrassed” only causes more concern on their part.
Ask questions that the patient can give precise or detailed answers to. Such as:
- How often do you feel the uncontrollable urge to use the bathroom?
- Do you leak urine? If so, are there things that set it off?
- Does the need to use the bathroom cause you to wake during the night? How often does that happen? Does anything you are eating or drinking contribute to that?
By opening the lines of communication with your patients about incontinence, you will help them to feel more comfortable being open about their condition and their needs.
You may wish to have your patient fill out a bladder or bowel diary for a period of time to help assess their condition. Download the bladder diary and bowel diary, add your practice name to the top, and print some out to keep handy in your office.
Establishing a protocol for how to care for incontinent patients, and providing education to staff members can ensure that everyone is well equipped to manage incontinence care. Learn more about educating your staff here.