Is it common for rehab facilities to require residents to wear adult diapers for convenience?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My 93 year-old mother has been hospitalized twice in the last three months and then sent to a rehab center for therapy. She has never had a problem with incontinence and yet the facility insist on putting Depends on her. The last stay in rehab with Depends irritated her skin, causing a boil. Depends seem to be the standard procedure for the convenience of the staff so they will not have to assist patients who need to use the bathroom, rather than for the comfort of the patient. Is this observation valid?

Expert Answer

Maria Basso Lipani writes a popular website on geriatric care topics, where she puts her expertise as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to good use answering care planning questions. Maria is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work and is licensed in California and New York.

In a word - Yes.

Hard to believe, I know. In fact, using adult diapers for convenience in a nursing facility is one of the most agregious practices I've seen.

But you nailed it right on the head as to why it happens and understaffing is usually at the root of the problem. Of course the whole thing is counter-intuitive because laying too long in a diaper leads to sores which, if left untreated, can become quite serious and require a greater level of care.