Ask the Expert: Continence Management Advancements

Incontinence, the involuntary loss of control over bladder or bowel function, affects over 3.3 million Canadians, including men and women of all ages.1

A tailored approach is essential when addressing this condition, as a one-size solution does not always work. The diverse needs and preferences of all individuals must be considered.

We spoke with Medline Canada expert Ravi Kaler, Skin Health Product Manager, to discuss challenges, best practices and the different types of products used in this care area.

What is incontinence?

When we talk about incontinence, we’re talking about the inability to control bowel or urinary function. This is not a normal part of aging and can be caused by medical conditions, medications and diseases, including urinary tract infections (UTIs), prostate infection or inflammation, weight gain and/or mental confusion.

What’s a common challenge you see?

There is a general awareness of best practices for incontinence; however, we often see products used incorrectly. When healthcare providers learn about incontinence management, training is often focused on application and sizing – more attention should be given to the variety of products available for different incontinence needs.

What happens to the skin when it is exposed to moisture caused by incontinence?

When products aren’t used correctly, skin is exposed to excessive moisture, and Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis (IAD) can occur.

Some common causes of IAD include:

  • Too much moisture from urine or stool interferes with the protective barrier of the skin

  • The normal pH of the skin is affected by the acidic nature of urine and stool – making it more susceptible to infection

  • Harsh soaps, detergents and too much rubbing (friction) canbreak down the skin’s natural barrier

  • Incontinence products that are the wrong size and do not properly contain urine and stool can expose the skin to excess moisture

What is a unique solution that Medline offers for incontinence?

One solution we introduced is a unique disposable brief with an I-shape design. This product follows a similar design to infant diapers and can accommodate different body types while providing a sufficient leg opening. This design also accommodates the body's contours and provides sufficient containment, fitting discreetly and comfortably, which means less bulk and fewer leaks.

How is innovation applied to Medline’s incontinence portfolio?

Innovation is at the forefront of Medline’s incontinence solutions. Historically, briefs have been the most popular and recommended product for Canadian end-users. However, Medline has introduced a full portfolio featuring different lines of briefs, protective underwear, feminine hygiene solutions, liners and pants, dry pads, underpads and baby products.

One of our innovative products is the QuickChange® Incontinence Wrap. It’s a one-size-fits-all male urine management solution. It is an absorbent wrap that traps the urine while protecting the skin. It has a hook and loop closure, making application and removal easy for the care provider. QuickChange also improves the changing process, so no rolling is required, and a single caregiver can complete a change with minimal patient contact regardless of the patient’s anatomy or weight.

Ultrasorbs® Premium Underpads with powerful absorbing technology are another unique product we offer to protect the skin from breakdown. It’s important to use products that absorb and hold moisture away from the skin. Ultrasorbs feature advanced materials that help skin stay dry, reduce friction and shear, and allow air circulation to regulate the skin’s microclimate.

As an incontinence partner, what are Medline’s goals for servicing customers?

Medline’s approach to serving customers as a reliable partner focuses on two main pillars: (1) Product and (2) Facility Habits. From a product standpoint, Medline offers technologically advanced solutions to improve containment, dryness, discreet design, fit and comfort. Regarding practices, we work with our partners to ensure products are used as effectively as possible for the best experience. This means providing education, proper assessments, product selection and ideal sizing for clinicians and staff.

Does Medline offer any training support?

A one-size solution only fits some in the incontinence world. We understand that every customer’s situation is different. At Medline, we work with our customers to help free up the resources needed to provide the best care for their residents/patients. Our Continence Management program involves resources specializing in clinical management, sales, and product management, all of whom can attend the site for education and training. In addition, we offer a vast array of online educational resources in the form of brochures, application posters, videos and guides to be alongside our customers at every stage of the process.

1. The Canadian Continence Foundation, What is Urinary Incontinence?, 2023.,women%20middle%2Daged%20or%20older