Thanksgiving has passed and it’s officially the Christmas season. There are wreaths on the doors and inflatable Santas on display in Walmart. I'm sure quite a few people have busy travel schedules in the next couple of weeks! So bring on the Christmas questions!
1. I’m a new user and I have questions – who should I contact?
We have Customer Care Representatives available to take your questions 6 days a week. They are available from 9am until 7pm (EST) Monday to Friday and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday. They can be reached at 800-814-3174.
2. Can I use Men’s Liberty if I have a UTI or wound on the tip of my anatomy?
We suggest that if you have an open wound that you wait until it heals to use Men’s Liberty in order to get the best wear time from the device. Once it’s healed – watch out world, here you come!
3. Will it set off the alarms at the airport?
No, Men’s Liberty won’t set off any alarms. There is no metal anywhere in the device or the packaging. Nothing in the device will set off alarms or raise concerns if you wanted to take your devices in your carry-on luggage. In fact, we always recommend carrying a few extra with you when you travel. You never know when your plans will be delayed or hit a snag. The last thing you want to be worrying about then is your incontinence.
4. Will I get a UTI? What is a UTI?
A UTI is a urinary tract infection. It is frequently caused by Foley (indwelling) catheters and condom catheters. Some symptoms of urinary tract infections include: a frequent urge to urinate, accompanied by pain or burning on urination, cloudy or strong smelling urine and/or fever. UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics. If left untreated a UTI can turn into a secondary infection requiring hospitalization.
With over 1 million units sold, there has not been a single reported adverse event caused by Men’s Liberty including urinary tract infections and serious skin injuries.
5. Can I sleep with it on? Can I shower with it on?
Yes to both! The Men’s Liberty is designed to be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The more it is exposed to moisture (for example in the bath, shower or swimming pool), the weaker the seal. We recommend changing your Men’s Liberty each day after your shower or bath.
6. I’m a Santa at the local mall and I have urge incontinence. It’s impossible to sit for hours and with the lines of children waiting I can’t keep running to the bathroom. Would Men’s Liberty be appropriate?
Absolutely! You don’t have to be incontinent to use Men’s Liberty. It’s appropriate for anyone who has to be away from a bathroom for hours at time like hunters, HazMat guys, long distance truckers and even Santa!
7. Why are the last three months of the year the best time to try a new incontinence product?
To make a (very) long story short, by the end of the year most people have met the deductible for their health insurance. This means that it’s possible to get medical treatment or product without paying out of pocket. While this varies widely between insurance plans, the end of the year can be a great time to try something before your next deductible kicks in.
Check out this interview with our CEO, Gary Damkoehler that aired as part of NBC News Game Changer series on Thanksgiving Day.
The following is an interview with Gary from Positive Impact Magazine. It's got lots of great information!
Entrepreneur Promotes Healthy Bladder Management
We sat down with BioDerm CEO, Gary Damkoehler to find out why he’s getting into the incontinence management business.
PIM: You’ve been involved in a number of healthcare organizations, including running JSA Healthcare for over 20 years. In fact, you retired in 2006, what made you come out of retirement and get involved with the incontinence management field?
DAMKOEHLER: I first became aware of the incontinence and wound care industry in 2005 when I first came across BioDerm and their new product, Men's Liberty. I've worked in healthcare for over 40 years, inspired by a feeling like there was something more I could be giving back to the world. I am blessed to have had so many opportunities to improve the lives of people all over the world.
I came back to work because I believe in this product. I know that the prevention of illness can improve people's lives and save money. I am appalled at the poor urinary management options available to men and women who have served their country honorably and who will forever live with the consequences of explosions, vehicle collisions and gunshots. Our service men and women deserve the absolute best.
When I first encountered Men's Liberty, I knew this could be a game changer for men with spinal cord injuries, prostate cancer and literally dozens of other illnesses. Incontinence is embarrassing; it's hard to talk about. But dealing with it is so important to people's quality of life. I come to work each morning enthusiastic about the possibilities for the day ahead. We're re-writing the rules in healthcare for managing incontinence. It's a whole new world out there and we're leading the charge. That's pretty darn exciting if you ask me.
PIM: What makes this product so different, so much better for men?
DAMKOEHLER: There is literally nothing else out there like Men’s Liberty. It’s truly a product that changes people's lives. Nearly 1.5 million Men's Liberty units have been used without a single reportable adverse event caused by the device including UTI and skin injury. Compare that to other outdated managements devices like indwelling catheters, condom catheters or diapers which have astronomical infection rates that result in additional medications, hospitalizations and even death. There is, quite simply, no comparison. We are head and shoulders above the rest.
The most important features of Men's Liberty are:
a) It's completely external - There is nothing in Men's Liberty which goes inside the body. This eliminates one of the primary infection paths you find with indwelling catheters. As a completely non-invasive product, Men's Liberty is more comfortable, easier to apply, reduces the need for skilled nurses to manage incontinence and improves health outcomes.
b) It's made from skin friendly hydrocolloid - hydrocolloid has been used in wound care for decades. It is safe, skin friendly, latex free and hypoallergenic. Quite simply, it's better for people's skin. It reduces or eliminates skin tears, injuries all the while maintaining a secure seal for 24-48 hours.
c) It's covered by Medicare, most state Medicaids, VA/TriCare, Workers Compensation and most private insurances. Most of our customers can get a healthier product for little to nothing out of pocket which helps their bottom line.
PIM: You have mentioned prevention frequently as an overlooked component of healthcare – why is prevention so important you?
DAMKOEHLER: Too often, in my opinion, healthcare professionals focus on treating an illness. It’s almost as though the disease is the important bit, not the person. I have a fundamentally different view. When I led JSA Healthcare, I made health improvement a priority and we made it profitable too. We focused on preventative care and we saw patients the same day if they were sick. That meant that people got the treatment they needed and dramatically reduced the number of patients who needed emergency treatment later on. Reducing hospitalizations made people healthier and in the end, it saved us money too! They say prevention is better than cure, and they're right.
That's one of the reasons I am such a believer in Men’s Liberty. We have to break the cycle of recurring illnesses and focus on helping people lead a healthier, more active, more fulfilling life. It’s about dignity, independence and the chance for people to reach out for something better. Men’s Liberty is there to help the man with prostate cancer play with his grandkids without wearing a diaper, to help young veterans complete in adaptive sports competitions without having an accident and help the caregivers and loved ones do a little bit less heavy lifting.
PIM: In addition to your business investments, you are also a local philanthropist. Can you tell me a little bit about your other philanthropic projects?
DAMKOEHLER: I’ve been involved quite a few over the years but the one that has had the greatest impact on me has been Maiti Nepal. I worked in Nepal as part of USAID in the 1960s and fell completely in love with the country and the culture. In 2004, I became one of the primary donors supporting the charity, Maiti Nepal (http://www.maitinepal.org/), which rescues women and children sold into the sex trade. The charity rescues women and children and helps them to recover from their traumatic ordeal and gain independence. The charity provides a safe haven including counseling, education and training so that women can gain their independence. They also provide housing to these women until they can get back on their feet.
Around the same time I also started collecting Tibetan antiquities. There are so many amazing pieces of history that are being lost everyday and I am passionate about preserving them so that generations to come can learn from them. Many of these treasures are currently being housed in the Damkoehler Gallery at the Museum of Fine Art in downtown St Petersburg. I am also an active member of the board of the Museum of Fine Arts and Admiral Farragut Academy where I also support a scholarship program for underprivileged young people who can benefit from advanced educational opportunities.
PIM: What motivates you to give back?
DAMKOEHLER: For me, it all comes back to a central belief in the fundamental resilience of the human spirit. We can triumph over adversity, but sometimes we need a little help. Whether that's a trafficked children’s shelter in Nepal, a scholarship to attend a better school or a device that can make our veterans lives just a bit easier, it can all be a game changer in its own way.
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday (and the extra short work week), here are a few burning questions for the run up to the Holiday Season!
1. What’s the secret to managing my incontinence discreetly during the holidays?
Sadly, there isn’t one magical secret to making it all go away. If there was, I would be a RICH woman I assure you (hint: I’m not). The best advice I can give you is two things:
- Be prepared. With holidays, usually comes travel. So plan ahead. Before your trip make sure you have enough supplies to last through the New Year. If travelling make sure you have enough supplies and some spares. Make sure to carry an extra set of clothes or two, plastic bags for wet clothes, wet wipes and baby powder in a small bag that you can keep with you. No one ever wants to have an accident but travelling presents particular challenges. Whether it’s a long car ride or a bumpy flight – it’s always best to be prepared.
- Find the right product for you and stick with it. High maintenance holidays aren’t the time to be trying something new at the last minute. There is usually a learning curve involved with new products and its best to try those out when you have some quiet time to monitor and respond if something doesn’t work quite as planned. This is certainly something we advocate with our product. Men’s Liberty has a bit of a learning curve for your skin because it absorbs all the excess moisture in your skin that has built up from using diapers and pads. That means the first one won’t last 24 hours. It takes about 3 back-to-back applications to get the full wear time of the product. Knowing that in advance allows you to plan and stay in control.
2. How can I make holiday travel easier?
Follow the tips above. Also consider downloading our travel tips including special holiday suggestions for getting through holiday TSA screenings!
3. Am I at greater risk for having an accident or getting a UTI during the holidays?
By itself the holidays are not a risk; however, many people may do things during the holiday season that increase their risk of having an accident. That includes: drinking too much alcohol or not enough water, and over indulgence in caffeine or other diuretics. There are lots of foods that will stimulate your bladder and increase the frequency and intensity of your need to void including citrus, spicy food, rich dairy products and artificial sweeteners.
To avoid UTIs, keep an eye on your water intake and make sure you are drinking enough to make your urine pale and clear. You may also want to drink cranberry juice semi-regularly, just be sure its the pure juice, not the sugary sweetened stuff.
4. Black Friday & Incontinence – can Men’s Liberty help me shop ‘til I drop?
Yes!! You can wear Men’s Liberty anytime you know you’re going to be away from a bathroom, even if you’re not actually incontinent. Whether you’re waiting in line for the new iPhone 5 or stampeding into Walmart for the latest Furby or Leapfrog tablet for your little one – Men’s Liberty can help!
All week we’ve been talking about bladder health. Today is the last day of Bladder Health Week so we wanted to leave you with a couple of tips for keeping your bladder as healthy as possible! Some are obvious, others not so much! Do you have other tips you think people should know? Share your health tips in the comments section!
Always, always, always drink enough water. Don’t know if you’re drinking enough water? A good hint is your urine – healthy urine is pale and watery. The darker it is, the more water you need to be drinking.
There are lots of foods that help support a healthy bladder including: fruits & vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, fiber and proteins. You can also avoid foods that explicitly irritate your bladder such as caffeine, chocolate and especially acidic or spicy foods.
Urinate and clean yourself before and after sex. Bacteria can easily travel up into the urinary tract during sex, causing urinary tract infections. Urinating shortly after sex and wiping yourself has been shown to reduce the odds you will develop an infection. Urinary tract infections are more likely to occur after sex in women; but men can get urinary tract infections too and they can transmit pathogens to women as well. The groin is a major source of bacteria so men should also adopt good personal hygiene, including cleaning their groin area.
Avoid alcohol and soda whenever possible as these can increase the frequency you need to urinate. This can exacerbate urge or stress incontinence and can disrupt your sleep.
Don’t strain to go to the bathroom. Don’t hold it when you don’t have to or force yourself to go when your body doesn’t want to. When travelling, don't try and hold it until the next exit on the highway when you can get off now. A recent study by Peter Snyder, Ph.D. and his research team at Lifespan showed that driving while trying to 'hold it' can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol! His research suggested that when people are dealing with a strong urge to urinate, their cognitive functions are impaired, similar to what you might experience after a sleepless night or a few too many pints at the pub. Getting to your destination safely is more important than arriving quickly. Take the time to stop when you need to.
DON’T SMOKE!!!! Smoking increases your risk for lots of types of cancer including Bladder Cancer. According to the Society of Urological Nurses of America (SUNA), “smokers are two to three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers, and men are three times more likely to be affected by bladder cancer than women.”
In honor of Bladder Health Week, here are answers to everything you never really wanted to know about your bladder (and some things you do!).
1. How many times is normal to urinate each day?
According to Dr. Oz, the average person urinates 4-8 times a day. In general, if you pee more than 10 times a day, he says, there may be something going on that you want to talk to your doctor about.
2. Why do I have to get up at night at least once, if not twice, to urinate?
As we age, our bodies make a lot of urine during the nighttime. It is perfectly normal to need to urinate once or twice during the night. Often, when you are young, you can sleep through the night without needing to get up.
It is normal for your kidneys to make as much as one to one and a half liters of urine a night. This is about half to three-quarters of a soda bottle! If getting up at night bothers you, you can try to cut back on fluids after you have dinner. However, do not cut back on daytime fluids.
Tea with caffeine also acts as a diuretic (makes you urinate more) and can irritate your bladder giving you the urge to urinate. As you get older, your bladder capacity can decrease, and therefore, you cannot hold as much urine.
3. How much fluid or water should I drink in a day?
There is a popular myth that everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day. For many people that is too much fluid, especially for those with a bladder control problem. On the other hand, if you are very active and perspire through exercise, you may need to drink more fluids. You should always consult your physician for appropriate guidance.
The color of your urine is a good indication of whether or not you are drinking enough fluids. If your urine is a dark orange/yellow, you may not be drinking enough. Concentrated urine is very irritating to the bladder and can worsen symptoms of urgency and urge incontinence. Conversely, if your urine is pale, almost water-like, you are taking in plenty of fluids.
4. How do I know there is something wrong with my bladder?
Common symptoms involve pelvic pain, blood in your urine or an unexplained change in your urinary needs. For example, if you suddenly need to go to the bathroom 15 times a day or start getting a sudden urge to void that you can’t seem to stop, then it is time to talk to your healthcare professional.
5. What causes incontinence?
According to the American Urological Association, urinary incontinence is usually caused either by an overactive bladder or by a weak sphincter muscle. Other causes can include: urinary tract or vaginal infections, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), pregnancy, childbirth and medications. In some cases, central nervous system failures and neurological disorders (like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease) can cause urinary incontinence.
6. How common are Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)?
The American Urological Association estimates that UTIs are responsible for approximately eight million visits to doctors’ offices each year in the United States. Around 20% of women and 12% of men will have at least one UTI in their lifetime. There are lots of risk factors for developing a UTI including: using an indwelling or condom catheter to manage incontinence.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Men become more susceptible to UTIs after 50 years of age, when they begin to develop prostate problems. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlargement of the prostate gland, can produce obstruction in the urinary tract and increase the risk for infection. In men, recurrent urinary tract infections are also associated with prostatitis, an infection of the prostate gland. Although only about 20% of UTIs occur in men, these infections can cause more serious problems than they do in women. Men with UTIs are far more likely to be hospitalized than women. [For more information, see In-Depth Report #71: Benign prostatic hyperplasia.]”
1.Is incontinence a normal part of aging?
NO. I repeat… INCONTINENCE IS NOT A NORMAL PART OF AGING!!!
Got it? See the answer below from Dr. Leslie Kernisan who is a senior medical editor at Caring.com and a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics. “Anyone can develop incontinence -- the loss of bladder or bowel control causing leakage -- although certain groups are at higher risk. But it's a myth that incontinence is an expected part of growing older. Incontinence isn't normal; it reflects an underlying problem. Incontinence is a symptom, not a disease.
“What is true is that the odds of developing incontinence increase with age. There are several reasons for this:
- With aging, there is more wear-and-tear on the muscles and other tissues involved with urination and elimination, causing them to weaken and lessening their control.
- Older men are more likely to have prostate problems, such as an enlarged prostate, which can block urine flow.
- Increasing age makes one more likely to have had surgeries, such as a hysterectomy or colorectal surgery that affects the relevant structures.”
2. As a caregiver, how can I lessen embarrassment for an incontinent person?
The best response will likely vary based on your relationship with the person. The best default is just to show no embarrassment yourself. If you treat it as a matter of fact thing that has to be dealt with then they will likely follow your lead. Avoid joking unless you’re really secure in your relationship with that person as it’s easy to cause offense about such a sensitive subject.
3. What are the most common causes of bladder incontinence in older men?
Anyone can develop incontinence. There are two broad categories – long term and short term. Common reasons for temporary incontinence can include a medication side effect, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol or a urinary tract infection. When the situation changes or is treated, the incontinence tends to end quickly.
The five most common causes of longer term urinary incontinence in men are:
Urge incontinence: This is a sudden, strong need to urinate before the leakage. People with urge incontinence may always feel a need to "go," but then they may not feel the need once they’re in a bathroom. Or they may feel a need to urinate frequently, especially at night. Even after voiding, the urine may continue to dribble out. Some common causes include Parkinson’s Disease, an enlarged prostate, diabetes or stroke.
Overflow incontinence: This is when you never feel the urge to urinate and the bladder simply keeps filling, until small amounts literally overflow the bladder and leak out. This is commonly associated with nerve damage that interrupts the signals to the brain or an enlarged prostate.
Functional incontinence: This means there is nothing wrong with your bladder but physical limitations impair the ability to use a toilet promptly. This can be the result of arthritis or Parkinson's Disease, which makes it difficult to move quickly and efficiently. Those suffering from dementia may have incontinence if they forget or don’t notice their need to go to the bathroom.
Stress incontinence: This kind of incontinence occurs when pressure (the "stress" in its name) is put on the abdomen, such as when sneezing, coughing, getting out of bed or a chair, laughing, or doing some kinds of exercise. The musculature involved may weaken with age or from damage following surgery, such as colorectal surgery or prostate cancer surgery.
Mixed incontinence: Many older people have a combination of types of incontinence, such as stress incontinence with urge incontinence, or urge incontinence with functional incontinence.
Well, it’s the day after the election and we hope you voted! Either way, now the election is over and we look forward to returning to our regularly scheduled television programming! And in honor of the election, here are few political questions…
4. Will health care reform change my ability to get Men’s Liberty at little to no out-of-pocket cost?
Nope. Men’s Liberty is covered by Medicare, most state Medicaids, VA/TriCare and most private insurance plans right now.
5. If I have to stand in line for hours, can I wear my Men’s Liberty when I go to vote?
Absolutely! Men’s Liberty can be worn anytime you’re going to be away from a bathroom, even if you’re not incontinent.
An estimated 20% of paralyzed patients are being discharged into elderly care homes in the UK due to a lack of accessible community housing available!
This shocking statistic comes from research by Aspire, a spinal cord injury charity in the UK who obtained hospital discharge data on hundred of paralyzed patients. The charity said that the care facilities are often unsuitable and can lead to patients suffering psychological damage.
Aspire is supported by researchers at Loughborough University who conducted interviews with spinal cord injured people who have lived, or are living, in care homes. These patients reported a low quality of life and other physical injuries including pressure sores, infections and broken bones.
Patients also reported:
A lack of independence
Damage to relationships
Participants said that care home staff were regularly not able to help them out of bed until midday, and in some cases people were left in bed all day if the home was short staffed.
Brian Carlin, chief executive of Aspire, said: "All too often, people with spinal cord injury find themselves discharged to somewhere totally unsuitable and, as this study confirms, care homes are often the very worst option for someone recovering from a traumatic spinal injury.
"As a country, we're still celebrating the fantastic success of GB's Paralympians this summer. How many of them would have had the opportunity to compete if they'd spent months or years confined to a room in a care home? Thousands of people are being robbed of the basic ability to get on with their lives."
Here at Men's Liberty we were so appalled by this story and wanted to share. Regaining independence after a spinal cord injury is integral to happy and healthy living for years to come. Our Customer Care Representatives talk to these men all the time and they know the difference that freedom from incontinence can make in their lives. For those of you in the UK, alternatives like Men's Liberty are available through our partners, CliniMed.
"I would recommend Liberty to anybody who is active in life and just wants to get out. Just because you're in a chair doesn't mean you have to be tied down to your house. Liberty lets you get out and do the stuff you enjoy." ~ David D., T7/T8 Para
"Liberty helps me keep up my work pace. Before Liberty, if I had to go to the bathroom, it was a production. Liberty has taken a major problem and made it nonexistent." ~ John W.
Original Story: http://www.channel4.com/news/care-homes-worst-option-for-people-with-spinal-injuries
*Caution: the post below contains some graphic medical images.
Skin maceration, candidiasis, dermatitis,– all these are complications that you may be experiencing when using diapers, pads or briefs to manage incontinence. Sounds nice and clinical doesn’t it? Get an infection; take a pill, problem solved right?
Sadly reality doesn’t quite work out that way. The other names for these complications are – diaper rash, yeast infection and (best of all) fire bottom. That’s not quite so clinical – but perhaps it’s a bit more meaningful. Treatment will frequently involve doctor’s visits, creams, ointment and/or antibiotics depending on which infection you’ve developed. If left untreated, these complications can contribute to pressure ulcers and hospitalization.
Dress it up any way you want (and believe me Tena and Depends will paint quite the picture), over 90% of individuals with incontinence are wearing some form of absorbent product – a diaper, pad, male guard or pull-up.
So let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Absorbents of all variety come with a host of potential complications that you should know about. So let’s take a look at that fine print!
Diapers retain moisture (duh, that’s why you wear them) but that means that moisture is being constantly held against your skin. Constant exposure to moisture, particularly the ammonia in urine, can cause skin breakdown.
Skin breakdown can look a little different in everyone, and vary in intensity. The primary characteristics are redness, tenderness and little white or red bumps. You can even develop a yeast infection and get the added benefit of a burning sensation when you pee! The image to the right is of a pressure ulcer. Incontinence and absorbents can also cause the development of ulcers requiring hospitalization and/or surgical treatment.
Absorbents have made great strides in recent years but it’s still a diaper. It’s generally still pretty bulky and can ride up above your pants in the back, meaning it’s visible to onlookers. Personally, I’d prefer to leave that kind of embarrassment behind where it belongs.
One thing you can’t escape with diapers is the smell. Urine stinks and when you’re taking lots of medication, it can stink A LOT! Diapers absorb urine and the smell just swirls around you until you change that diaper. And if it soaks into your clothes you may never get rid of that l'eau de toilette.
Armed with the facts, you can make a better decision for managing your incontinence care. The reality is that DIAPERS ARE NOT YOUR ONLY OPTION! Men’s Liberty is a healthier option for managing men’s urinary incontinence without the complications! It’s discreet, dignified and dependable.
Recent estimates by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest that over 4 million men in the U.S. experience urinary incontinence, including those with spinal cord injuries, MS, ALS and nearly a dozen other diagnoses. Incontinence is also a major factor in nursing home admission in the U.S., with more than 50% of male nursing home residents requiring assistance in controlling urine output or using the toilet. Taking control of continence management is integral to maintaining an active, independent lifestyle.
Products for managing mens' urinary incontinence include diapers, condom catheters and indwelling catheters. Newly available is Men’s LibertyTM, a new hydrocolloid based external device which provides a secure, skin-friendly seal for 24-48 hours.
When it comes time to think about managing you or your loved ones' incontinence, be sure to consider the following five factors. There is a lot of variation out there and it’s important to find the urinary management tool that works best for you!
1. What is the cause of your incontinence?
For men with a blockage that reduces or prevents the flow of urine, external products aren’t going to be appropriate. Indwelling catheters, surprapubic catheters or intermittent catheterization may be appropriate.
However, the vast majority of incontinent men experience stress, urge or functional incontinence. This includes minor leaks when bending or reaching, a sudden and immediate need to urinate or simply the inability to reach a bathroom in time due to mobility challenges. For these individuals, a variety of external products exist which may be appropriate including diapers, condom catheters and Men’s Liberty.
To determine what kind of incontinence you are experiencing and to discuss appropriate management options, please contact your health care professional.
2. What are the potential side effects or complications?
Using indwelling catheters, diapers, pads and condom catheters can cause serious complications. Care givers and patients need to be vigilant to prevent:
Infections: Urine is an excellent medium for bacterial growth. The longer an individual retains urine, the more likely they are to develop a urinary tract infection (UTI). Do not take UTIs lightly. Treatment may require a doctor’s visit and antibiotics. If left untreated, UTIs can lead to more serious infections like sepsis and require hospitalization.
Wounds, Rashes and Bedsores: Wounds and infections can develop under diapers, pads or condom catheters because they allow the skin to be exposed to urine for extended periods of time. If the skin is compromised and left untreated, deeper wounds can result. Most men can use an external continence management device such as Men’s Liberty to eliminate dampness and reduce the possibility of wounds.
3. What are the costs involved?
Out of pocket costs vary depending on Medicare and insurance coverage. Diapers and pads are not covered by Medicare, leaving the vast majority of costs to the consumer. Alternatives such as condom catheters or Men’s Liberty are reimbursed by Medicare and most private insurance plans, reducing initial out of pocket costs. However, patients should also consider the cost of treating the complications of any product they use. Paying for lotions, ointments, antibiotics and doctor’s visits can add up.
4. How will this impact my partner or caregiver?
If you need help managing your urine, it’s important to create as much free time for your spouse or companion as possible. Tying caregivers to your bathroom schedule makes it difficult for them to get a break. Choosing a urine management option that empowers you and does not require frequent assistance is preferred. Alternatively, plans may include employing a personal caregiver, at least on a part-time schedule to provide respite assistance.
5. Make a plan to stay active. And stick to it!
Once you’ve mastered the mechanics, set goals on how you can remain active. Make a schedule and establish routes with available restrooms. Try finding a support group because life is more pleasant when you can share your challenges with other people who understand. Exercise as much as you can. Create a daily routine involving moderate physical activity and make it permanent.
The typical response when dealing with urine control is to cut back on social activities. This is understandable until you learn to manage it. But that’s the key – manage it; then get out and live life to the fullest.
This article offers health and wellness information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.
I went to the Doctor this week and it was a thoroughly unsatisfying experience. I spent about 40 minutes waiting and 10 minutes or less with the Doctor. While all the staff were polite and helpful, I can’t help but feel that I was just one piece on an assembly line. No one really listened to what I wanted to discuss and I left with a treatment plan I don’t really understand and more than a few questions unanswered.
Turns out, I’m not alone. Earlier this week, Steve Wilkins of Health Messaging wrote a fascinating blog article contrasting the responses patients provide on satisfaction surveys and other published data. He suggests that there is a significant disconnect between what patients say in surveys and what happens in practice. Based on my experiences this week, I would agree, so I thought I would share some of the highlights with you all here.
Studies of primary care physicians show that:
- Patients are interrupted by their physicians within the first 18 seconds of their opening statement during office visits
- Physicians and patients agree on the reason for the office visit only 50% to 70% of the time
- Physicians underestimate the patient's desire for health information 65% of the time
- 50% of patients walk out of their doctor's office not understanding what their doctor told them to do
- Patients are not asked if they have any questions in up to 50% of office visits
Despite the stats above, most patient satisfaction surveys show a consistent satisfaction rate of 80%-90%. So, what’s the disconnect? Wilkins argues that it’s really three things -
- Beginning with childhood, we all have been socialized to assume the "sick role" when seeing the doctor. From our initial visits to the pediatrician with our Mom we quickly learned the doctor is in charge and our role is to sit passively by while the doctor does most of the talking. Notwithstanding all the "talk" about how empowered patients are today, most of us still assume the sick role when seeing our doctor.
- Accustomed as most of us today are to the sick role, and accepting the fact that physicians are very busy, we are not surprised when doctors don't seem to listen to us or interrupt us. We are not surprised they don't have time for all our questions or frown on us bringing in lists of things we have researched on the internet. This for most patients is what we are used to ... it is what we are satisfied with, given that most of us don't have another or better point of comparison, i.e., a highly patient-centered physician.
- Consistent with the sick role, we as patients "tend to be overly patient." We "grant our doctors the benefit of every doubt." Most of us begrudgingly put up with poor service, inconvenience and unnecessary discomforts until we can't overlook it anymore. Even then we are reluctant to take our busy, overburdened doctor to task for these shortcomings by giving them a low score on a satisfaction survey.
So what can we do? For one thing, “be cautious about putting too much credence in patient ratings of physician communication skills.” And as the patient, be proactive. Don’t shy away from doing your own research and asking your Doctor about what you find. Most people with incontinence never mention it to their doctor. And when a patient comes in wearing a diaper, the Doctor may not even bring it up!
If the study above wasn’t enough a related article that also came out this week. A study of 1,068 adults conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center for the Institute of Medicine's Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative found that 90 percent of patients wanted their doctors to offer them options – not just their best recommendation – for making a medical decision, but far fewer people were actually offered this information by their doctors.
Two-thirds of patients agreed they wanted to know the risks of each option, including how a choice might affect their quality of life. Nearly half agreed that they wanted to discuss the option of doing nothing. However, patients' experiences rarely matched up to their desires. According to the study:
- 61% strongly agreed that their provider listens to them
- 50% strongly agreed that their provider explains the risks of their options
- 36% strongly agreed that their provider clearly explains the latest medical evidence
- 47% said that their provider takes into account their goals and concerns
- 37% said that their provider explains the option of not pursuing a test or treatment
"This gap represents an enormous missed opportunity," William D. Novelli, a Georgetown University professor and former AARP CEO wrote. "Healthcare practitioners have a key role to play in bridging this gap by routinely offering all the reasonable options for healthcare decisions through systematic implementation of unbiased, evidence-based tools, such as decision aids," they continued.
Here at Men’s Liberty we sit on the other side of this divide. Patients are desperate for something better to manage their incontinence; they find us and end up introducing the product to their Doctor. There are thousands of products, pills and treatment options out there. Even the best Doctor can’t keep track of everything new that comes out. But proactive patients are seeing the benefits!
Does your Doctor know about Men’s Liberty? Would you like to send them information or take the information to your next appointment? Click here to send them information!
For more information on either study, please click on the links above to the original blog posts/articles.