Publications

IT HAPPENS!

That’s right, incontinence happens to all of us! It may happen because of aging, injury or medical conditions. Incontinence can be temporary or permanent, it can be short term or long term. It may start out as simple as a sneeze and slowly progress to total loss of bladder control, it can occur from an infection or accident causing internal trauma, it may be a result of complications during childbirth or surgical procedures and it may occur as a result of obstructions and/or neurological disorders. Rest assured, no matter why or when it happens (and it will), it can be treated with products that are designed to suit your needs, no matter what the situation is. What most people don’t know is how to treat incontinence.

Treating incontinence starts with knowledge; knowing the amount of protection needed and knowing the products that support these needs. Speaking strictly toward external continence coverage, there are many products that support varying amounts of the absorbency required so having a good idea of your bladder control and how much fluid output is happening can be as simple as tracking your fluid intake. It’s equally important to understand the style of incontinent products that will suit your functional and discretionary needs.

Product absorbency varies from light to maximum with each style but there are only three main styles of continence protection products for loss of bladder control – 1) Liners (pads), 2) Pull-ups (underwear) and 3) Briefs (diapers). Liners are typically used as discretionary protection for low fluid loss which can occur during exercise, laughter or sneezing and are designed for both men (guards) and women (liners). Pull-ups are most often the style of choice when needing increased protection and the individual is still capable of dressing and toileting without assistance. Pull-ups come in men’s (many traditional darker colors), women’s (mainly in peach or pink) or as a unisex version (white) and are less bulky than briefs. Briefs are designed specifically for convenience. Putting them on and removing briefs is much easier for caregivers when assisting an individual who may be non-ambulatory and also for males who may want easier access to removing one side when standing at a urinal. Briefs are typically unisex (white) and most often have the highest absorbency rating. Although choosing the correct protection is key for moisture management both Pull-ups and Briefs can be used in conjunction with a liner for added protection at night or over longer periods that don’t allow for changing.

Finally, odor containment and moisture “wicking” properties may or may not be a deciding factor when choosing a suitable product. It is important to know if and when there may be sensitivities to either property. For individuals that may be often surrounded by others, either in a care facility or a sociable environment, it is advisable to look for a product that has an odor neutralizer incorporated into the product. Similarly, sensitivities to moisture management can be controlled by choosing a product that has been specifically designed with a top layer that reduces the amount of backflow moisture to the skin and that has the ability to contain fluid and eliminate leakage as much as possible.

All in all loss of bladder control will most likely happen and when it does it is important to know that you are not alone. Knowing what absorbency you need, the style of product that suits your needs and any sensitivities will help you make the right choice of product. If this all seems much too complicated then find a store that has a professional incontinence advisor and you can be guaranteed that your product will be right for you!

Written by: Karen Veldkamp-Perry B.P.Ed.

Continence Advisor

Canadian Health Care Products

 

OVERACTIVE BLADDER OR INCONTINENCE

The right protection involves understanding your needs.

It is estimated that up to 27% of males and 43% females will experience the symptoms of an overactive bladder as they age and up to 70% of these individuals will develop incontinence due to an overactive bladder. Knowing your symptoms, speaking with your physician or a professional incontinent advisor and discovering how best to manage your needs will help prevent embarrassing events that may occur.

Knowing there are four main symptoms associated with an overactive bladder and four main types of incontinence is your first step.  Manageable symptoms that may be involved with having an overactive bladder include Urgency (a sudden desire), Frequency (more than 8x/ day), Nocturia (up greater than 2x/ night) and Urge Incontinence (involuntary leakage while feeling an urgency). Alternatively the four types (or stages) of incontinence are classified as Urge, Stress, Overflow and Functional Incontinence, each of which involve a lack of good bladder function and will require some form of protection.

Starting a journal and charting your events is an important part of understanding your needs and can assist a doctor when making an accurate diagnosis. Charting should include documenting your fluid intake and recording the time of day, sensation associated and voiding success. If you choose not to see a doctor then a chart will also help you or a professional incontinence advisor decide on the appropriate protective product. Both types of professionals will help you discover that there are non-prescriptive and prescriptive measures that can be taken and either or both will be dependent on the diagnosis and/or your personal preferences. Non-prescriptive management includes lifestyle modifications such as less fluid intake and avoiding certain triggers such as caffeine, as well as bladder training with timed voiding and pelvic floor exercises.  Prescriptive management includes medication and/or devices designed to eliminate embarrassing and ill-timed voiding. And while medications may slow or decrease the amount of incontinent events you experience, absorbent devices are designed to protect you from these ill-timed events and give you back your quality of life, free from embarrassment.

Protective devices include absorbent products, collecting systems, external, intermittent or indwelling catheters and occluders. Absorbent products vary from light to maximum with each style of product and a professional Incontinence Advisor should have the time to consult with you as well as carry a variety of products and selection charts for you to refer. Simply knowing that there are only three main styles of absorbent protection products makes things a bit easier and is a good place to start when making a choice. The three styles include Liners (pads), Pull-ups (underwear) and Briefs (diapers).

If this all seems a bit overwhelming then find a store that has a Professional Incontinence Advisor and you can be guaranteed that you will get the guidance you need and the right protection!

Written by: Karen Veldkamp-Perry B.P.Ed.

Continence Advisor

Canadian Health Care Products

 

OFFSETTING THE COSTS BY CLAIMING THE EXPENSES

Keep your receipts!

As we know, incontinence happens. When it does, keeping a journal and discussing patterns with a Professional Continence Advisor will help you find the right products. We also know that with increasing needs comes increased expenses. Canadian Health Care Products has the experience, knowledge and information to help you understand that this is a medical expense. With the right collection of documents and receipts you can offset the costs involved by including the total amount spent on your tax return. Eligibility and submitting a medical claim is easy but there are few things you need to know such as who is eligible, what products can be claimed, the maximum allowance and how to submit your claim.

To start, you must be eligible for claiming medical expenses. Eligibility refers to a person or individual whom incurred the expense, within the taxation year being filed, and therefore it will be imperative to visit a doctor or medical practitioner to obtain a diagnosis and to receive the required prescription. It is this medical diagnosis that substantiates the fact that an illness or disease is negatively affecting the proper function of the body and consequently there is a need for specific products and services to assist in the condition.

Products and or services eligible include all items purchased for or by the individual and the fees related to securing the prescription (Rx). This means that if you had to pay to visit the prescriber (Dr. fees) or incurred a cost (travel or overnight stay), these would be eligible to include with the claim. All products purchased must be described on the Rx and directly related to the physical care of the diagnosis. Any ointments or treatments that are lawfully obtained and accompanied by the Rx also qualify. Products are not limited to being obtained within Canada and therefore can be purchased while out of the resident province. The prescribing doctor or practitioner however must practice within the province that the individual resides and also must practice within the field of diagnosis.

Surprisingly the current costs of incontinent products have stayed relatively the same over the past 5 years but the types of products have increased immensely. Important to the affected population, in 2014 the Canadian Continence Foundation commissioned a 31 page perspective on Incontinence. Within its contents lies 2 pages focusing on the direct and indirect costs involved and although it was often hard to quantify individual costs it was estimated that a senior living with urinary incontinence will spend, on average, $1400.00 – $2100.00 annually. The good news is that this figure equates closely to the maximum amount eligible which is 3% of the individual’s net income or $2237.00, whichever is less.

When paying for items you will need to retain all receipts. This includes any/all products or services directly related to the diagnosis. These can be from any source of provider as long as it has the individual’s name on it, it coincides with the product described on the prescription and has the name of the company / business in which sold the items. These receipts do not need to be submitted but you should keep them with your files in case the CRA requests looking at them.

Finally, you will need to ensure that your tax form is completed accurately. There are two lines on your tax form that can be used for claiming medical expenses. These are found on Schedule 1- lines 330 & 331. Line 330 is for the specific individual, spouse or dependent child under 18 years of age & 331 is meant for dependents over 18. There are four simple steps to follow; first- enter the total amount of your eligible receipts, second- enter the value of 3% of the net income or $2237.00 (whichever is less), third- subtract the second step from the first and enter the value, forth- claim the corresponding provincial non-refundable tax credit (from 428) on line 5868 when using with 330 or 5872 with 331. Feel free to visit http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/medical/ as an online resource.

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