Toolkit for Reducing Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections in Hospital Units: Implementation Guide

Appendix N. Skin Care in the Incontinent Patient

An indwelling urinary catheter is not the answer for urinary incontinence.

  • Good skin care technique will prevent skin breakdown.
    • Use perineal cleansing products as needed. 
    • Avoid use of agents containing alcohol as they are too drying to the skin.
    • Use moisture barrier cream and/or a barrier wipe. 
    • Turn patient every 2 hours.
    • Modify environment to be conducive to maintaining independence with continence (e.g., bedside commode or urinal within reach if appropriate).
  • Minimize contact of urine to skin.
    • Use only one quilted cloth pad for incontinence.
    • Eliminate use of plastic-backed pads.
    • Promptly clean urine-soaked linens and gowns.
  • Develop a toileting program.
    • Answer call lights promptly
    • Offer bed pan every 2 hours—no exceptions!

You may want to include techniques and/or products that are in accordance with your facility’s wound care protocol.

Page last reviewed October 2015
Page originally created October 2015
Internet Citation: Appendix N. Skin Care in the Incontinent Patient. Content last reviewed October 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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