Lindsay Lorton, a clinical product development manager for Domtar’s European adult incontinence products, including the Attends® and Indasec® brands, was drawn to the idea of improving peoples’ lives at a young age. She was inspired by her many family members who worked in health care, and she eventually studied both nursing and midwifery.
Since joining the Attends team 25 years ago, Lorton has been fulfilling her dream of helping people. Today, because of her clinical skills and medical knowledge, Lorton is instrumental in the development of Domtar’s adult incontinence products.
We spoke with her to find out why she’s so passionate about what she does.
Why is it important to have a nurse participate in the development of incontinence products?
Our products have to meet a wide range of complex needs, and a nurse brings a clinical perspective to the design table. It’s my responsibility to stay up to date on the latest continence and incontinence research.
Ultimately, we’re making a healthcare product. Most incontinence products are worn 24 hours a day, and the risk for skin breakdown is real. This can have serious health consequences. There’s also the psychological component and the dignity for the end user. The product has to be comfortable, and it definitely can’t leak.
What does your job look like, day to day?
In a nutshell, I collaborate with people inside and outside the company in order to gain a holistic, consumer-focused view of the product requirements.
I’m the lead [member] of a clinical team made up of nurses, and each person has product responsibility within our key European markets. We conduct interviews and in-use evaluations with healthcare professionals, caregivers and consumers to better understand their needs. We also work with certification bodies to validate our work and develop rigorous testing protocols.
I work closely with our European marketing team, keeping us aligned to the needs of the business while putting the consumer at the center. Our marketing director is a pharmacist. She instinctively looks at things from the end user’s perspective, so we have a valuable partnership.
There’s also our purchasing team, the quality group and, of course, the product developers.
It’s a pleasure because we have such respect for each other’s qualifications and points of view, and we’re all working toward the same goal.
Lindsay Lorton, first from left in the back row, with the product development team at a meeting in Aneby, Sweden.
How does your role at Domtar fit with your desire to help people?
Even today, incontinence is a taboo subject for many, yet it affects the quality of life of people of all ages.
I read an interview with the mother of an 8-year-old girl with a neurological condition that causes incontinence. Her daughter loves school, takes piano lessons and is learning to swim, but they were struggling to find an absorbent hygiene product that was suitable for her age and activity level. They finally found the solution with our Attends product line, which has unique sizes and the right level of absorbency. We asked her about how we could make the product even better, and then brought her ideas back to the development team.
There was also a young Norwegian man who regained the ability to walk after being a quadriplegic for 10 years. We can help make incontinence the least of his worries.
How can I not feel good about helping these people live more normal lives? This is exactly why I do my job.
Can you give an example of a product that has benefited from this extensive teamwork?
Our Attends Soft products in absorbency levels 6 and 7 are really small, discreet pads with high absorbency; they’re designed for heavy urinary incontinence. Our competitors don’t have this type of product on the market.
Thanks to our collective input, we’ve designed a product that meets the needs of consumers in relation to leakage protection, skin health, odor protection and overall dignity. We’re really proud of it.