For patients dealing with incontinence issues, as well as their loved ones, nighttime and sleep periods can be one of the most challenging periods of the day. When diapers and pull ups are suddenly changed less frequently than they might be during the day, accidents that can be embarrassing are more likely. For this reason, many patients with even mild incontinence will find that using a disposable underpad (often known as “chux”) will be helpful and convenient. As with any medical product, however, there are a wide variety of even this seemingly simple implement. Patients and their caregivers may find themselves asking “Which underpad is right for you?”
Disposable underpads are square or rectangular sheets of absorbent fluff material and polymer. They are attached to a mattress or bed, to provide added absorbency and protection from incontinence related fluid leaks. Many underpads are tucked into the edge of the mattress much like a sheet would be, to prevent shifting when patients move. However, some underpads even have adhesive tabs or backings, allowing for extra security. Smaller sizes of underpads are sometimes even used on sofas or in chairs where patients may spend a great deal of their time if they are more sedentary.
The most important factor in choosing the right underpad for your specific needs will be the degree of absorbency which is required. Underpads are rated from moderate absorbency all the way up to “overnight” or ultra-heavy absorbency. These types of underpads are intended for users with heavy overnight incontinence, with some brands being able to hold up to 4 cups of fluid at once. Obviously as absorbency increases, so does thickness of the pad, leading to a feeling of sleeping on an additional surface other than normal sheets. For this reason, patients with milder incontinence may choose a thinner, less obtrusive pad with less absorbency.
Size will also be a factor in choosing the correct underpad. Underpads come in a variety of sizes from a thinner 23×36, to a square 30×30, all the way up to the largest 30×36 size normally available. Patients will want to make sure that they cover the entire sleeping area of the bed where any kind of leak could occur. However, if for example they have a sleeping partner, a thinner or smaller pad may be helpful to allow their partner to have their own distinct space. Similarly, if being used occasionally on a sofa or in a chair, a square size of underpad may also be helpful.
As with protective underwear products, many state Medicaid plans provide for patients to receive underpads through insurance if they have medically documented incontinence issues. Insurance policies will typically only cover moderate absorbency underpads, however they tend to cover the entire range of sizes available, allowing for a degree of personalization based on a patient’s needs. Outside of what is available under Medicaid, there are a much wider variety of diverse products available for patient pay pricing. When choosing patient pay for underpads, patients will want to consider not just the cost per pack of underpads, but also how many pads are in each pack, as well as how much use each underpad will allow. While lighter pads may appear cheaper, if they are soaked through and discarded more quickly, they can quickly add up to be more expensive than a better quality option.
Living with incontinence can be a major lifestyle adjustment, but it does not have to be embarrassing or overwhelming. By working with an experience durable medical equipment provider like Aeroflow Healthcare, a great deal of the guesswork and hassle of incontinence products can be lessened. We can file through your state Medicaid policy to ship incontinence products discretely and directly to your home, so you can focus on your quality of life. Competitive patient pay pricing is also available if you do not qualify through insurance. If you or someone you know is living with incontinence issues, do not delay, contact Aeroflow Healthcare today.