Products for women
Products for men
A range of products are available that are designed to protect the bed or chair. Some products are absorbent while others are only waterproof, and most are available in both disposable and washable versions.
Disposable underpads are made up of:
Some also have “tuck in wings” intended to hold them in place. They are usually only available in one level of absorbency, although absorbency may vary between brands.
They come in different sizes, but most are at least 30cm x 60cm (24” x 36”).
How well do they work?
Disposable underpads are seldom used for managing incontinence on their own and most research about their performance is old. 1234. They are more useful for protecting furniture against leaks from other products such as body-worn pads or during procedures such as changing other products or using bedpans or urinals.
Disadvantages of disposable underpads
Where can I get disposable underpads?
Many types are available through retail outlets such as pharmacies and supermarkets, the internet or direct from suppliers. Not all products are available worldwide. See below for links to suppliers and products in your part of the world.
Washable underpads are large, absorbent reusable pads designed to absorb bladder leakage and protect bedding or other furniture. Most are made up of:
Some washable underpads do not have a waterproof backing and require a separate waterproof sheet placed underneath them.
Most washable bedpads are designed to cover the mid portion of a single bed, and are available with and without tuck-in wings or anti-friction backing to prevent them moving around in the bed. Bespoke sizes can be made to order, for example, for a double bed.
Washable chair pads are smaller for use on chairs. They are available in different colours and patterns that are intended to be aesthetically pleasing and to coordinate with soft furnishings. Some types have a quilted top sheet. Many have a special non-slip waterproof backing which makes them less likely to move on the chair and helps to prevent urine leaking onto upholstery.
Washable underpads are seldom used for managing incontinence on their own, but they are useful for protecting beds and chairs against occasional leaks from other products such as body-worn pads, or when using a urinal or bedpan.
Washable bedpads can be an alternative to wearing body-worn pads or other products, especially for someone who has only light and occasional bladder leakage or for people who try to remove body-worn pads due to confusion. People who experience bowel leakage will require a body-worn product.
Older research evidence reported differences in absorbency and effect on skin between makes of washable underpad.1011 However, there has been no research on washable underpads that are currently available, and these may perform differently from the older products.
Although washable products may be expensive to purchase initially, used over time they may be more economical than disposable products.121314
Disadvantages of washable underpads
Laundering washable underpads
Washable underpads are laundered in the same way as body-worn washable pads. Generally they are washed much like normal laundry, following manufacturer’s instructions. It is advisable not to use fabric conditioner as this can reduce absorbency of some products. Click here for more information.
When used in a nursing home, it is important that they are washed at higher temperatures, which ensures pathogenic organisms are destroyed and makes the risk of cross-infection very low.16
Where can I get large washable pads?
Waterproof mattress covers, pillow covers, duvet covers, wipe-clean duvets and sleeping bag liners are available in a range of sizes and materials. These products do not have any absorbent capacity and are designed only to provide waterproof protection for the mattress and bedding.
Cheaper products are made from plastic. These can make the user feel hot and sweaty, can be noisy, and can deteriorate quickly with repeated washing and drying. Better quality products are made from fabrics with a waterproof coating or from several layers of fabrics (sometimes quilted) with an internal waterproof membrane, and are designed to be more comfortable, softer, quieter and more discreet.
They can be used as back-up protection against leakage from body-worn pads or other products. People who experience only very light or occasional bladder leakage when asleep might use them as their main protection, with or without an absorbent bed pad. Some only use them when away from home for reassurance.
How much does waterproof bedding cost and where can I buy it?
Waterproof mattress protectors are available in many mainstream retail outlets as well as in more specialised outlets and can be bought online. Less common items such as duvet covers and sleeping bag liners can be bought through specialised suppliers and online. The cost of waterproof bedding varies according to the design and which country you live in, so it is not possible to give an exact price range. See below for links to suppliers and products in your part of the world.
Washable bed pad with integral waterproof backing and tuck in flaps
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