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

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 23, 2016
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 Answers

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.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I spent over a month in a nursing home, during physical therapy & healing, after major sirgery. I have minor incontinence due to prostate enlargement (65 % of men at age 65 have this). I wear a small absorbent pad, in my underwear; but the nursing home just had disposable diapers, for me to wear; thus I was diapered by the nursing assistants. After being there about a week I was able to put my diaper on myself. I had to wear diapers there, the entire time; instead of my usual small pads, for minor leakage.