The Hidden Costs of Incontinence
June 27, 2019
In over 30 years of servicing adults with incontinence, DMEs (Durable Medical Equipment companies), hospitals, and long-term care facilities, we’ve learned that the cost of incontinence is a lot like an iceberg. When it comes to incontinence, people can see the cost of the incontinence product, but what they don’t see, and often forget, are all the other “hidden costs” that are associated with incontinence.
The Cost of the Products
The physical product is the first cost that customer experience, referred to as Level 1 cost. While some brands, like Tranquility, may cost more per product, that is not necessarily a bad thing – for many reasons we will get to shortly! Savvy buyers know not to consider this cost in a silo, but rather to consider all the costs associated with incontinence. We refer to these as “hidden costs.”
Spend More, Get More
Incontinence products aren’t a one-time purchase, they’re bought and replaced over time, and that expense can add up. Generally speaking, low-cost incontinence products are less absorbent and cannot be worn for very long, leading to frequent changes (every 2-3 hours) and the use of more products over time. Tranquility products are designed to be the most absorbent products for extended wear and do not need to be changed nearly as often as low-cost products. That means, even though you are paying more per product, you’re often getting more than twice the wear time per product!
Moisture Related Products
Costs that are sometimes forgotten when considering incontinence products are the costs of gloves, barrier creams, lotions, cleansing wipes, and other moisture related products. Because Tranquility products are designed for extended wear and are not changed as often, the use of gloves, lotions, and wipes can be significantly reduced. As for barrier creams, we recommend against using barrier creams with our products because the cream actually blocks liquid from being absorbed into the product, so cut that cost all together.
Linens and Laundry
Urine stains and odor lead to frequent loads of laundry and linen changes, and that can add up quickly in terms of cost, time, and caregiver stress. This reduces the quality of life for the wearer, as well as the caregiver! Tranquility products’ superior absorbency minimizes leaks and allows for hours of wear time. Tranquility products can improve the quality of life for wearers and caregivers by reducing the number of changes (product and linens) and allow both to enjoy more time not worrying about incontinence. Another cost in this category to consider is trash and waste. . This creates significantly more waste and trash than using 3-5 Tranquility products in a day!
Moisture-Associated Skin Damage (MASD)
Skin breakdown and other skin related issues are very common and very costly with mismanaged incontinence. When a person sits in cold, wet, uncomfortable urine for periods of time, the wetness against the skin causes incontinence associated dermatitis (IAD). IAD can be difficult to reverse and heal if the climate around the affected area is not dry, clean, and at the proper pH. Similarly, when skin integrity is compromised it is possible for pressure ulcers (pressure sores or bed sores) to develop. When a person or patient is in the same position too long and moisture is present against the skin, harsh pressure ulcers can become exposed causing additional attention, challenges, and costs.
At Tranquility, we developed our products to create an ideal micro-climate to promote skin health, reducing the risk of incontinence associated dermatitis and pressure ulcers, it’s our Peach Mat Guarantee®.
Financial and Emotional Burdens
The lowest level of the iceberg is the deepest and most expensive hidden costs of incontinence. These costs include financial costs of incontinence related falls and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), plus emotional burdens like interrupted sleep and reduced quality of life. Financial costs like incontinence related falls can be very expensive and detrimental to the persons health and quality of life. The Center for Disease Control estimates that the average hospital cost for a fall is around $30,000. Falls also come with an emotional and physical decline, such as reduced activity for fear of falling again and an increased risk of developing other conditions. Another financial cost is the costs associated with Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). UTIs are common with incontinence and occur if there is bacterial growth in or near the urinary tract. The average hospital cost for a UTI is around $2,000 to $8,000!
The most important costs aren’t truly “costs” at all, and these are quality of life and interrupted sleep patterns. Quality of life is not something that we can’t put a dollar amount to, but we all want the highest quality of life possible. When an adult is suffering from mismanaged incontinence, their quality of life declines. They are afraid to leave their house or room for fear of an accident and embarrassment, so they can become secluded, lonely, and isolated. Loneliness has been found to be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day… Quality of life is one of the most important influences on happiness and life satisfaction. Another negative outcome of mismanaged incontinence is interrupted sleep patterns. Often, adults with incontinence get up, or are woken up, multiple times in the night to change their product and even change their sheets, causing them to be awake for hours in the middle of the night. Waking up like this affects many different aspects of life, like mood, attention span, energy, and memory. It is important for people to experience all stages of sleep so they can wake up re-energized and rejuvenated, ready for the day ahead. Interrupted sleep and quality of life are not easily quantifiable costs, but they are negative outcomes of incontinence that should be considered.
Tranquility products are designed for maximum protection and extended wear time. With Tranquility, you can reduce the risk of incontinence related falls and UTIs because of Tranquility’s superior absorbency and Peach Mat Guarantee. Our products quickly pull urine away from the skin and lock deep into absorbent layers, keeping the skin dry and inhibiting bacterial growth. At Tranquility, we believe that Good Days Start with Good Nights, so we make products that allow for uninterrupted sleep, allowing the wearer and caregiver the ability to sleep through the night. Our superior absorbency and leakage protection will keep you dry overnight, reducing the need to change your product, clothes, and linens. This allows the wearer and caregiver to wake up feeling refreshed and energized to enjoy the day ahead.
The Tranquility mission is to uplift, enlighten, and enrich the lives of those we serve so that they can live more abundantly. We put our mission into every product we design, every person we talk to, and every business we work with. We believe that our products are the best for adults dealing with moderate to heavy incontinence, and we know that our customers have improved quality of life, improved health outcomes, better sleep, less worry, less frustration, less embarrassment, and much more. With Tranquility, you can properly manage your incontinence so that you can do the activities you love, with the people you love, and avoid all the extra unwanted stuff that comes with mismanaged incontinence.
Consider to Whole Cost of Incontinence
We urge our customers and caregivers to consider the entire cost of incontinence when selecting a product. Just because a product has a low cost per product does not mean that in total the cost of incontinence will be low. There are a lot of costs beneath the surface! When considering an incontinence product for yourself, someone you care for, or a facility, consider how incontinence affects your entire life or organization. Yes, you can buy the store/generic brand for less than $1 per diaper, but you’ll be doing lots of laundry, changing all the time, embarrassed to go out in public, and may even develop IAD, pressure ulcers, or a UTI. And those costs really add up! With Tranquility products, you reduce the difficulties and complications of incontinence while improving sleep patterns and quality of life. The peace of mind that comes with Tranquility products is unmatched and worth every penny!
“I have tried every product out there. None work as good as Tranquility. They are a little more expensive, but worth every penny. I can go out in public and have peace of mind that I am not going to go through it to my clothes or worse what I may be sitting on. I no longer feel I need to take a change of clothes with me. I can go on long trips with peace of mind and that alone is worth it!” – K.S., Roeland Park, KS
More Tranquility Blogs
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- Tranquility® is updating its product lineup!
- How to Choose the Best Incontinence Underwear & Adult Diapers
- How Tranquility Improves IP and HAI Practices
- Tranquility and Dementia, A Caregivers Experience - Kitty Wall
- Does Medicaid Cover Incontinence Supplies or Adult Diapers?
- Reduce Healthcare-Acquired Infections
- 5 Things to Consider When Caring for Elderly Parents at Home