Incontinence Filter
December 12, 2005 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Incontinence filter: My father, while more or less OK, has some health problems that have affected him mentally and physically. My Mom and I can deal with this, but what's difficult is that he's got some control issues with his bodily functions - it's very hard for him to travel, and sometimes even to go out to dinner. We need to find a solution.

There are lots of adult products like Depends, but these don't fit him very well as he's rather overweight. He's got a great big belly, but slender and athletic legs. All of his weight is basically in front of him. As a result, most adult diapers - even large ones - don't stay securely attached. Products designed for very heavy people don't work as he's essentially slim from the waist down. Is there a better product we should consider? Perhaps sort of elastic garment that will keep everything together? Any help would be much appreciated.
posted by aladfar to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Is it primarily urinary incontinence? A condom catheter would work - they are non-invasive, simple to put on and very reliable. Bowel incontinence could be handled by simply placing an adult diaper loosely in his drawers.
posted by rotifer at 12:55 PM on December 12, 2005

Here is a link. Ask your father's physician for a product designed to avoid skin breakdown.
posted by rotifer at 12:59 PM on December 12, 2005

You’ll find a discussion of condom catheter use here and elsewhere on the wheelchairjunkie site. There may be other useful info on incontinence there as well.
posted by firstdrop at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2005

It's also known as a Texas Catheter, FWIW.
posted by 6:1 at 2:44 PM on December 12, 2005

You should find a geriatric medicine specialist. Shouldn't be too hard to find one in a large city.
posted by neuron at 4:29 PM on December 12, 2005

I almost forgot--the catheter could connect to something called a "leg bag"--a catheter bag that has an elastic band that goes around the leg. Feed it through the leg of his pants so it's not so obvious. Ask your healthcare professional about this option.
posted by 6:1 at 4:41 PM on December 12, 2005

Condom catheters are not so easy to apply. I am speaking from professional experience. Perhaps pull-up incontinent briefs for adults would be helpful. They are easy to apply and easily removed just by ripping the sides apart. They are soft and have no plastic to deal with. My patients prefer them to regular disposable briefs. They are closer to the underwear feel than other incontinent briefs.
posted by bratcat at 8:45 PM on December 12, 2005

This question is better addressed to his treating physician.

In my years of experience treating patients, the condom catheter has never been a workable short or long term solution in any situation.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:10 PM on December 12, 2005

That sort of catheter wouldn't work for him - he doesn't have the dexterity to use it. What's more, this isn't simply related to urinary problems.

My mom has tried the briefs, but for some reason they just don't stay on him very well. He needs something that can get around his belly, otherwise they just fall off. He has the same trouble with his pants, actually - perhaps something with suspenders is the way to go, I dunno.

As for his treating physician, they (he goes to a number of doctors) simply suggest that he start using off the shelf products that we've already tried. Apparently he's on some medications that help control the problem, but they're not quite enough.

We'll figure it out eventually, I hope. Thanks for the advice!
posted by aladfar at 9:28 PM on December 12, 2005

At the hospital, they use some sort of elastic netting underwear that is infinitely exapandable for all sizes. It looks like it would be cheap at the medical supply house. I'm thinking one of those, with a gigantic hospital feminine hygiene product with glue on the the back, stuck in the front. Yeah, it's a kluge job, but we're out of ideas, and it might be something to try.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:57 AM on December 13, 2005

"...the condom catheter has never been a workable short or long term solution in any situation."

This statement is patently false. I'm a nurse and have used condom catheters extensively in home health situations. They aren't an ideal solution - they don't exist in this situation - but they provide dignified mobility without the issues associated with invasive catheters. I assumed he wouldn't be able to put it on - you or your mother would have to learn to do it for him. And yes, you have to learn the tricks associated with making them work properly. Ask your primary care provider (or his/her nurse) for a referral to the local home health agency. They (the agency) will provide suggestions and train you in the use of an appropriate appliance. Physicians (and most nurses) know very little about this area. The wheelchairjunkies site linked to earlier had a fascinating forum. Oh, and read the question before responding people - some of this shit is flat irritating.
posted by rotifer at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2005

This statement is patently false.

Oh, really? Are you now an expert on my years of clinical experience?

I gather you - as a nurse - are not responsible for the consequences when the prescribed condom cathether causes penile skin breakdown, infection, gangrene, and penile amputation. I've seen that twice, and twice is two times too many. Also, they leak, they are "one-size-fits-all," they are latex only, and penile tumescence can push them off.

I'll say it again - I think there's always a better solution than a condom catheter, in every setting, without exception.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:50 PM on December 13, 2005

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