Medical Fabrics for Incontinence Care

Incontinence is a major challenge for the NHS, with Bladder and Bowel UK estimating that as many as 14 million people in the UK suffer from incontinence problems. To make matters worse, the proportion of elderly patients with continence problems is significantly higher than the average, while at the same time, these elderly patients make up a large proportion of the hospital population.

Unfortunately, incontinence itself is just a part of the challenge for NHS wards. With rising levels of hospital acquired infections, such as MRSA and C-Diff, keeping the beds of incontinent patients hygienically clean is more important than ever before.

Cleaning compromises quality

While there are a number of waterproof medical fabrics on the market, many of these are simply not compatible with the thorough cleaning regimes now required for modern infection control. Although the clinical recommendation is to use 1,000ppm of chlorine bleach, in practice, dilutions as high as 10,000ppm are regularly used, and this can seriously compromise the properties of medical fabrics used in incontinence care.

Repeated washing and disinfection of waterproof mattresses, seat pads and wheelchair pads causes many of these medical fabrics to deteriorate. This leads to premature ageing and cracking, which in turn allows fluid ingress. This is not just a hygiene issue; it quickly becomes a financial one as well.

Poor quality compromises costs

As a result of the deterioration caused by extensive deep cleaning to combat hospital acquired infections, many mattresses with specialist medical fabrics require frequent replacement in order to maintain standards and performance.

This puts further strain on already stretched NHS resources, and can become a serious cost issue for private sector medical companies. Private or public, no healthcare provider should have to choose between incontinence care and effective cleaning, or between controlling infections or controlling costs.

Redwood rises to the challenge

As an expert technical textiles manufacturer, Redwood have risen to the dual challenges of incontinence care and clinical hygiene with Xtreme fabrics. These have been specially developed to deliver all the waterproof properties required for incontinence care, in medical fabrics that can also withstand the heavy-duty cleaning regimes used on today’s wards.

Xtreme fabrics represent the pinnacle of Redwood’s technical medical fabric development. Rigorously tested, both in house and independently, they have been proven to provide a watertight finish, especially when combined with welded seams. They also provide anti-microbial infection control, flame retardance, anti-decubitus properties and high abrasion resistance. Yet these medical fabrics are still able to resist even the most stringent cleaning regimes.

Ongoing development

The bacteria and viruses that cause hospital acquired infections are constantly evolving, and at Redwood we know that to remain effective, our medical fabrics have to do the same. We are constantly working with experts in technical textile science to enhance and improve our Xtreme medical fabrics range. What’s more, we actively seek feedback and input from medical professionals who are working on the front line of modern healthcare, to ensure that our products remain fit for purpose and meet the ever-evolving needs of today’s wards.

The challenges of incontinence are not going away, in fact, they will only get worse as our population continues to age. Over 10 million people are currently aged 65 or over, and this number is predicted to rise significantly in the coming years. According to a government report, by 2040, one in seven people in the UK will be aged over 75.

Redwood are proud to play our part in meeting the needs of this aging population, both now and in the future, with advanced medical fabrics designed to ensure comfort for all, combined with the very highest standards of hygiene. To find out more about Redwoods advanced medical fabrics, including the Xtreme range, get in touch today.