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Elderly Care: Time for Change

21.02.2011 | Posted in: Carers | Author: Samantha Hall

Last week major news publications on and off-line called for attention to a series of accusations against the NHS. The Health Service Ombudsman upheld 10 complaints against the NHS for failing to meet the most basic standards of care for older people.

We have all been horrified by the reports from the health sector watchdog. It showed clear evidence that nurses and doctors denied to provide basic medical and caring assistance to elderly people in NHS hospitals. Elderly patients were left hungry, thirsty, unwashed, in soiled clothes, and without adequate pain relief.

It makes me wonder why on Earth anyone could do such things to another human being, especially when you have chosen that career. I always thought that doctors and nurses choose their careers because they care for others and are willing to help people under any circumstance.

What is going on with our doctors and nurses? Are they not being paid enough? Or the system has been saturated with unqualified professionals that have chosen such careers just for the money and benefits?

It can’t be a question of money as the New Labour has pumped billions in extra resources into healthcare. Perhaps it could be a matter of size. With 1.3 million employees working for the National Health System whose impersonal structures mitigate against the development of real bonds between individual staff and patients.

Whatever the problem is it is time for a change and we can’t let our loved ones be treated this way. We must not forget that we all get older and if we don’t call for change now we could be the ones sitting in a lonely hospital bed hungry and soaked in our own urine.

Facts and Fiction about Bladder Weakness

18.02.2011 | Posted in: Advice, Bladder Weakness, Incontinence, Male Incontinence | Author: Samantha Hall

Dealing with bladder weakness is much simpler than many people think. By learning more about it and busting some myths around it you will see that you live a normal life after all.

The term bladder weakness is commonly related to men but women can also have it but other terms like urinary incontinence are used instead.

1. Fact or Fiction: Bladder weakness basically means you’re unclean?

Fiction. No one should have to feel damp or unclean. The most usual way to avoid this is to use a bladder weakness protection product, which ensures dryness by locking urine and odour away from the body for complete freshness and discretion.

2. Fact or Fiction: It has nothing to do with virility.

Fact. Bladder weakness in itself does not affect virility, and leakage doesn’t usually happen during sex. So, unless you’ve experienced nerve damage due to surgery or have other underlying problems, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy a full and happy sex life.

3. Fact or Fiction: If you really try, you can control it.

Fiction. No one is deliberately incontinent. There are numerous causes and types of bladder weakness, and there are protection products especially designed so that men can manage the situation and get on with their lives.

4. Fact or Fiction: No one I know has bladder weakness.

Fiction. Bladder weakness is surprisingly common, with 1 in 8 men experiencing it, so you may well know someone who has it. Perhaps they’ve just chosen to keep it to themselves and have discovered products that provide total security and discretion.

5. Fact or Fiction: Bladder weakness means you can’t drive long distances.

Fiction. With the right protection you can drive wherever and whenever you like. So rip up the map and go explore. There’s no need to worry about unexpected traffic jams or not being near a toilet.

6. Fact or Fiction: Bladder weakness is a sign of old age.

Fiction. Yes, this is false.

Millions of men experience bladder weakness at some time during their life, often when they’re under 50.

As you can see bladder weakness is more common than many people think and above all it is nothing to be ashamed off. Remember, you are not alone.

Sourced from: Tena Information Centre

Tena Men Pads Radio Ad Cleared

14.02.2011 | Posted in: Incontinence Products, Male Incontinence | Author: Samantha Hall

A Bedfordshire company has been cleared of breaching advertising regulations with a radio ad for male incontinence pads.

SCA Hygiene Products’ ad for Tena Men pads said that male bladder weakness “may be hard to talk about, but it’s easy to do something about”.

A listener complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the ad could discourage men from seeking treatment for what could be a serious health problem.

Dunstable-based SCA agreed that male bladder weakness could be a symptom of a serious condition but said the ad was designed to raise awareness of the condition and to encourage more men to seek medical advice.

The radio industry’s ad clearance body said the commercial was not likely to discourage men from getting medical treatment for incontinence.

ASA agreed, and ruled that the ad did not imply the product could treat bladder weakness or other, potentially more serious, health problems.

Have your say in the Government's Consultation on the DLA

11.02.2011 | Posted in: Carers | Author: Samantha Hall

First of all for those of you who don’t know what the DLA is, it is the abbreviation of Disability Living Allowance. The Government has launched a consultation to replace it as a new form of benefit called the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The DLA has nothing to do with the Carer’s Allowance but it is a vital benefit for disabled people, as it provides tax-free financial support for disabled people if they have care or mobility needs – it is not related to their ability to work.

If the government replaces the DLA carers will be affected directly as they can only claim Carer’s Allowance if they are caring for someone who gets the Disability Living Allowance or the Attendance Allowance, which will not be affected by the proposed new changes.

The major carers associations in Britain accepts that the DLA should ne revised and some elements reformed but it is not in compliance it should be replaced by the Personal Independence Allowance. A lot needs to be clarified before it is replaced, for instance no assessment has been published on how the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment or the £1 billion reduction in the DLA budget would affect Carer’s Allowance claimants. Imagine families who rely on these benefits losing carers and disability benefits.

Carers UK, Britain’s biggest and most influential Carers association is calling other carers, disabled people and other groups to have their say in this consultation. Here is what they suggest you can do:

All you need to do is write a quick email to the Government at the address below, including some details about your circumstances or, if you are a local group, case study details of a carer you support, and state why you are worried about these proposals. Here’s what to write in your email:

1. Say who you are and who you care for and that you are very concerned about losing Carer’s Allowance because the person you care for might lose their benefits

2. Explain why you are worried (Do you think the person you care for is at risk of losing their DLA? Do they have a condition that changes and a medical professional might assess them on a good day and fail to take account of the worse times? Do you care for someone with a mental health condition or a learning disability which you are worried might not be assessed properly by a medical professional?).

3. Explain what impact losing Carer’s Allowance would have on you (would you be worried about paying your basic bills, or affording to do anything for yourself, or would it mean caring was unaffordable for you and you couldn’t carry on.

4. State that you believe the Government should not be making cuts of £1 billion to disability benefits because of the devastating consequences it could have for disabled people and carers like you.

5. Say that it you believe that Carer’s Allowance must remain outside of the Universal Credit. Carer’s save the UK £87 billion every year with the care they provide and it would be wrong to take away Carer’s Allowance from some carers by means-testing it, as this would leave some carers without any recognition of their contribution.

Email this to the Department of Work and Pensions at consultation.dlareform@dwp.gsi.gov.uk (or David.Doherty@dsdni.gov.uk in Northern Ireland) and send a copy to your MP (you can email them by entering your postcode into www.writetothem.com).

For more information visit: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2010/dla-reform.shtml

New Plastic Sling to Give More Support for Incontinent Men

07.02.2011 | Posted in: Advice, Incontinence, Male Incontinence | Author: Samantha Hall

One of the biggest causes of incontinence in men is prostate problems, even though the prostate does not have any function in the male urinary system. So why are the majority of male urinary incontinence cases related to prostate issues?

The prostate is a small gland located just below the bladder and it is in fact part of the male reproductive systems. The problem is that the urethra, the tube which carries urine from the bladder out of our body runs right through it. As men get older, the prostate often becomes enlarged and inflamed, that is when the problems with passing and retaining urine begin.

Abnormalities of the prostate like enlargement or even a tumour often require surgery. The most common surgery to remove parts or the whole prostate gland is called Prostectomy.

Prostectomy is a very complex surgical intervention and many times due to the proximity of the prostate to the sphincter valve, this valve can be damaged resulting in leakages of various degrees.

Up until now the only solution for the problem was to implant a manually activated artificial sling to the scrotum, but many men are reluctant to the thought of having to press a button to urinate.

Now a new sling made out of a special plastic mesh is being implanted in men who lost control of their bladder after a prostate surgery. Over the past 18 months this new device called the AdVance male sling is being tested and results are very promising.

The hammock shaped sling was designed to give support to the damaged sphincter valve. The procedure takes no longer than 45 minutes and is carried out under general anaesthetic and normally patients are discharged one day after surgery.

Official data are yet to be published about this new technique but according to reports from patients and doctors the sling seems to significantly benefit 50 to 70 per cent of men who had it implanted.

More Natural Remedies to Treat Incontinence

04.02.2011 | Posted in: Advice, Female Incontinence, Incontinence, Male Incontinence, Urinary Incontinence | Author: Samantha Hall

On Monday we brought you 5 remedies to treat or improve incontinence naturally. The article was a success amongst our readers, so we decided to dig deeper and bring you more natural ways to help you feel more confident about your condition.

So let’s get straight down to business and see what these natural remedies are.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D also known as the sunshine vitamin, it might not be a top recommendation for men and women here in the UK but not to worry, there are other ways meet your daily requirements of Vitamin D. Fortified Milk, eggs and fish are rich in the vitamin.

Knows to promote calcium intake and good bone health, researches have shown that D vitamins can reduce the risk of pelvic floor disorders, including incontinence.

Biofeedback

Extremely useful to help you understand what muscles should be contracted during Kegel exercises. Electrical sensors are implemented in the pelvic floor area to monitor muscles and allows you to sense what is happening in your body and then make changes to reduce incontinence episodes.

It can be a bit costly and requires a lot of determination from the patient, but worth every penny and time spent with it.

Quit Smoking

If you are not a smoker simply skip this bit. But if you are a smoker and are looking for another reason to quit, there you have it. Nicotine irritates the bladder increasing the occurrence of incontinence episodes.

“Smokers tend to cough more than non-smokers and long-term, chronic coughing has been considered a risk factor for developing stress urinary incontinence and/or pelvic organ prolapse,” said Dr. Zimmern in an interview to the an American newspaper – The Huffington Post.

Acupuncture

Yes the ancient Chinese alternative medicine methods are also good to treat incontinence naturally.

According to some acupuncturist we have talked to, an overactive bladder is the result of imbalances of two or more systems in our body. For instance the kidneys and the liver or even the heart and lungs.

Like always we would like to remind you that our articles are written for informative purposes and only a professional trained in these symptoms can truly diagnose and treat your condition. A GP will often refer you to a specialized Continence Advisor for assessment to ensure you receive the right help and treatment to improve your symptoms.

Senior Citizens and Incontinence

02.02.2011 | Posted in: Advice, Carers, Incontinence | Author: Colin

Urinary incontinence is a bladder control problem that affects people of all ages, not just the elderly. One of the great misconceptions about incontinence is that it is a natural and expected part of aging. But that’s not true; just because you’re elderly doesn’t mean you have to accept the loss of bladder control as a normal part of getting older. Effective treatments are available for sufferers of incontinence, no matter what age you are.

Incontinence symptoms vary from occasional minor leakage to the complete accidental loss of control of an evacuation of the bladder. The majority of urinary incontinence issues arise from either weakened or over-active bladder muscles. Stress incontinence results from weak muscles meeting a sudden burst of pressure. A sudden sneeze, a violent cough or even a belly laugh can trigger an unwanted and sudden release of urine.

Another common type of incontinence is “overactive bladder,” or OAB. In OAB the nerves of the bladder send false signals making you feel an urgent need to urinate eve when there is very little liquid present.

Aging and Bladder Problems

Older adults have other reasons for bladder discharge problems. The very elderly are often immobile and not able t heed the call of nature in time. Others suffer from conditions that produce fluid overload.

Congestive heart problems or the use of diuretics can produce too much urine for a weakened bladder to hold. Incontinence can also be caused by cognitive impairment. Senior citizens often suffer from forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease which can cause behavioral problems. These situations are less about bladder control and more about more severe medical conditions.

The important thing to realize about bladder problems is that they have many causes and many possible treatments. Too many older adults see bladder control issues as a sign of incompetence and impending death. They try to hide the problem rather than seeking treatment.

Rather than risking a potentially embarrassing discharge in public they withdraw from life. This reclusive life leads to further isolation, feelings of despair and can even develop into depression. Senior safety and well being requires an active social life, so don’t let incontinence stop you from living. Treatments to reduce or even eliminate incontinence are many and varied.

Some treatments may include dietary changes or even altering prescription medications. Most severe cases may require therapy (like bladder control exercises, floor exercises, meal and beverage timing) medications and absorbency products. There are a number of surgical procedures that may be effective but because the risks and costs associated with any surgery, these are usually the last resort.

Prostate problems and nerve damage (from accidents or even the side effects of surgery) can also create incontinence. Realize that millions suffer from incontinence and it is nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t have to self-manage the problem in secrecy. Your doctor may be able to help free you of the problem, but not if you keep it to yourself.

Elder Care Issues

If you are a caregiver to a person who suffers from bladder control problems, talk to your family physician and get your loved one a complete evaluation. Adult diapers are not the only way to manage the problem and they certainly won’t cure it. The solution to your particular problem will take a good deal of investigation and experimentation. Some elder care givers have had great success by changing the physical environment; just adding a commode to the bedroom or giving the patient easy to remove clothing can fix the problem.

Others required a change in medication; still others required a change in home health care worker. Sometimes patients are embarrassed by health care workers of the opposite sex, other times it’s the reverse. Investigate experiment and persevere knowing that a good number of incontinence problems are manageable if not completely preventable.

Caring for Elderly Incontinent Patients

01.02.2011 | Posted in: Advice, Carers, Incontinence | Author: Samantha Hall

Despite what many people think incontinence is not a problem that comes with age. It is indeed more prominent in elderly people due to certain health factors that we only experience as we get older. Incontinence, Bladder Weakness, Leaking Bladder, what ever you want to call it, it’s nothing to be ashamed off and in many cases it is treatable.

Caring for a loved one can be both an intensely difficult but at the same time rewarding experience. You may learn things about yourself you may never have realised, such as your ability to be patient and your capacity for love and compassion.

With caring comes great responsibilities be it on a professional or personal level. One of the biggest issues carers face when looking after older people is incontinence.

Changing diapers, wet bed sheets etc, is not a pleasant task to do on a daily basis but it has to done in order to provide a better quality of life for those with bladder weaknesses. Nowadays incontinence products have evolved and they not only provide more protection and discretion to the wearer but they are also easier to handle, hence disposable incontinence products.

Disposable incontinence products range from disposable diapers through to bed sheets or bed protections and can be bought at any pharmacy, drug store or even online.

Many adults who experience incontinence often feel embarrassed about their condition. Any carer who works closely with incontinent adults can help improve their daily life by making them feel better about their condition. There are a many ways that to help the person you care for feel better about bladder weakness.

The first thing to do is to let them know it is a common condition experienced by many people of their age. Did you know that Incontinence and Bladder problems affect about 6 million people in the UK?

Knowing that there are others experiencing the same problems and they are not alone often makes them feel better about themselves.

Nothing to be ashamed of

Carers can significantly reduce the emotional concerns over bladder weakness/ incontinence by helping their loved ones feel less ashamed and being sensitive to their concerns.

Build up their confidence

Keeping initial outings short can help to build their confidence in how continence can be managed away from the home. After a few trips to nearby destinations, they will feel more comfortable about travelling further and for longer periods.

Caring for elderly incontinent people requires huge amounts of comprehension and patience but with a lot of understanding you can help them feel better about incontinence and get back to doing the things they enjoy.