Everyone knows the importance of a good night’s sleep. A full night’s sleep helps you be more alert. But better sleep also helps you concentrate and puts you in a better mood, and it can even boost your immune system. Unfortunately for many residents of nursing homes, interrupted sleep is a way of life because of incontinence.
According to a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, incontinence affects more than 75 percent of residents at long-term nursing home facilities. Care practices at these facilities often include checking residents with incontinence issues every two hours during the night, which results in interrupted sleep. Incontinence also contributes to skin breakdown, infection and increased fall rates. Annually, it’s a $5.3 billion problem for institutional residents in the United States.
Study on Holistic Incontinence Care
In an effort to provide better quality of life for its long-term residents, the Superior Care Home nursing and rehabilitation center in Paducah, Kentucky, partnered with Domtar in a clinical study of holistic incontinence care. The study addressed care practices, identified areas for improvement, recognized ways to improve efficiency and established individualized care protocols that addressed residents’ specific needs.
Instrumental in this study was the switch to a new program of targeted nighttime care using high-quality, multivoid Attends products with Supersorb technology, rather than the range of other products supplied by residents’ families. Attends products allow nurses’ aides to let residents rest for five hours or more without having to be checked for leakage.
The new approach was intended to:
- Increase care-delivery practices through resident-centered care;
- Improve facility efficiency;
- Enhance quality of life for residents;
- Raise resident and employee satisfaction; and
- Improve marketability for the facility.
A Better Night’s Sleep
“Going into this study, we had an awareness that a better night’s sleep would translate into better outcomes,” said Matt Zielinski, vice president of healthcare clinical research at Domtar. “But what really stands out from this survey is that it touched so many areas of a resident’s life.”
Throughout the Domtar study, Superior Care Home staff collected a wide range of data, including information on sleep quality, skin health, fall rates, balance and strength evaluations, and cognitive ability. Residents who participated in the study saw benefits in many different aspects of their lives—including improved mental scores and better physical health—simply by getting more uninterrupted sleep.
- 71.4 percent of residents maintained or improved their Activities of Daily Living scores.
- 90.5 percent of residents showed stable or improved cognitive scores, measured by the Brief Interview of Mental Status.
- 57.1 percent of the study group showed improved mood.
- Resident falls decreased by 55 percent.
- Among residents who could be tested, 72 percent saw improved gait scores, a measurement used to determine the risk of falls.
The residents weren’t the only ones who saw improvements with the switch to Attends products. The laundry department spent less time washing linens, and annual laundry costs decreased by more than $33,000. Nurses’ aides also reported less odor in the hallways, and because they spent less time changing bed linens and dealing with incontinence issues, they had more time to dedicate to other types of resident care. As a result, job satisfaction improved.
Also, by switching to a standardized product and working with Domtar’s sales consultants and clinicians, the facility was able to streamline its ordering and distribution process for improved operational efficiency.
A New Era for Incontinence Care
Since participating in the study, Superior Care Home has seen a wide range of benefits with immediate and far-reaching implications for its residents. Other care facilities could see those same results, if they rethink their approach to incontinence care.
“Incontinence can be a debilitating condition,” Zielinski said. “This study helps show that our products give residents the ability to improve their quality of life and continue with the activities they enjoy.”