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Tips & Advice

How Digital Incontinence Care can Improve Sleep

Some of the procedures in continence care meant to keep residents dry often have the unintended side effect of disturbing residents’ sleep. Here’s how to fix it.

Incontinence Care Disturbs Sleep

Most people’s sleep becomes more and more fragmented as they get older. We sleep less, wake up too early, have a hard time falling asleep, etc. This can be due to many factors, including restless legs, depression, loneliness, respiratory issues, incontinence, and more (3).

When living in nursing homes or other care facilities, there are also environmental factors such as noise and bright lights during the night that can negatively affect residents’ sleep patterns.

Research has shown that noise during nighttime is often caused by staff, often while they provide incontinence and other personal care to residents (2). When this happens, residents are often also exposed to daytime lighting as caregivers need to turn on the light in the resident’s room, which further disrupts their sleep.

In some cases, nurses or caregivers perform manual checks of the incontinence product’s wetness level 2-3 times during the night – each time disturbing the resident’s natural sleep pattern.

While manual checks are necessary to prevent leakages and ensure that an incontinence product is changed in a timely manner, they have downsides for residents, patients, and health professionals.

A Straining Care Task

Continence care is a time-consuming and straining task for health professionals.

During a night shift, caregivers are responsible for several residents or patients, which results in many manual checks of incontinence products. If a product leaks, caregivers must then also hoist or help the patient out of bed, help them take a bath, and change the bed linens.

Therefore, minimizing the number of manual checks is beneficial for staff, residents, and patients. 

How to Avoid Leakages and Manual Checks

Digital continence care solutions such as ABENA Nova can make unnecessary manual checks a thing of the past.

A clip attached to the incontinence product continuously sends data to a smart device so that caregivers can always see the wetness level of the incontinence product.

When the incontinence product is saturated at a set level, a notification is sent to the smart device, letting caregivers know that it is time to change the product.

Caregivers are also notified if the product has been on for too long, and needs changing even if it hasn’t reached full saturation capacity. Further, caregivers are notified if a leak is imminent due to liquids being close to the edges of the product or if the product is reaching full saturation capacity.

This means that products are changed exactly when they need to be, thereby preventing many of the leakages that disturb residents’ sleep.

More Dignified Care

Improved sleep can lead to several benefits for the residents such as more energy for daily activities such as rehabilitation, visits, and card games. In some cases, having more energy can lead to residents being able to get dressed on their own or with a minimum of help from caregivers. Cognitively residents are also not as burdened if they have had a good night’s sleep.

At the same time, health professionals can focus their knowledge and expertise on other tasks, rather than incontinence care.

What is ABENA Nova?

The incontinence product has integrated sensors and contains a personal clip that measures saturation. The clip transmits information via Bluetooth and 4G network to the WetSens Monitor app, which is installed on the caregivers mobile device. The app allows caregivers to track saturation levels and take timely action when it is time for a change.

This article has been written in close collaboration with in-house nurses at ABENA. 

All sources are available upon request.

Do you want to know more?

If you want to know more about sleep or if you have any questions about the contents of this article, please reach out to us. We’re happy to help!

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