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What Are Incontinence Sheets?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2014
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Incontinence is a difficult issue, and is particularly problematic when people are either bed-ridden or when they go to sleep at night. Incontinence sheets help protect mattresses so that urine or fecal matter does not stain them. Some incontinence bedding has additional features, like absorbing urine so that moisture is wicked away from the sleeper, and there are other potential functional aspects of these sheets like disposability.

There are many different types of products that are called incontinence sheets. Some of these are more aptly labeled as mattress covers, and simply lie flat on the mattress or have tuck-in ability. These products are usually used with standard sheets and may come in different types of materials. Alternately, some incontinence sheets are meant to be slept on directly and have various protective elements like rubber backing that prevent liquid from reaching a mattress. Other variants include disposable pads or disposable sheets that are somewhat similar to diapering material, and are useful when accidents occur often.

One of the standard items recommended in incontinence bedding is a full mattress cover that zips around the mattress. This can be used alone or in conjunction with incontinence sheets of other kinds. Made of material like PVC, these covers can have a strong plastic-smelling odor at first, and they’re not always comfortable. They’re not breathable and they can make people feel overly warm. Some people don’t mind them, but there are zip-up covers with more comfortable materials, or folks can turn to alternatives.

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One of the popular alternatives is called the rubber sheet, and it usually made of material like rubberized cotton. Large rubber sheets are often used as mattress toppers in baby cribs and it’s possible to get them in even larger sizes for twin or full beds. The disadvantage of either this or the zip-up mattress cover is that any moisture hitting these covers then simply transfers back to the other sheets being used. This means the bed can get uncomfortably wet, causing nighttime waking, and it could result in all blankets and clothing being saturated.

Alternatives are incontinence sheets that will absorb liquid but keep it away from the body and blankets while still protecting the bed. Flat disposable paper sheets may work, as can actual fabric sheets that have rubberized backs and soft, absorbable layers. There are a number of companies that make such products, and people may find them occasionally sold by department stores. Usually the best place to look, especially for disposable sheets is medical supply companies

The different types of incontinence sheets can only do so much. People with this condition, especially those who aren't mobile, will need beds changed on a daily basis to prevent the development of unsanitary conditions or bedsores. Daily changing can get expensive, but some type of protective sheet is recommended to avoid soiling a mattress, which costs even more to replace. Insurance companies may help defer some of the costs of incontinence sheets.

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