Hypothesis / aims of study
Worldwide over 400 million people are affected by incontinence problems. One of five persons older than 40 years is affected by bladder weakness or incontinence. In nursing homes, it is estimated that 70-80% of the people are incontinent. However, younger people may reject or not even find the optimal products for their initial needs when buying themselves.
Market drivers are the demographic changes with increasingly aging populations, age and life-style related diseases and rising demand for long term care, in combination with increasing economical standards. While realising bladder problems, one of the first options is to find and use disposable absorbent incontinence products.
Awareness and marketing to promote products to broader user segments need to be assessed and monitored to support sufferers with tools for self-diagnosis and use of accurate disposable absorbent incontinence products to meet everyone’s needs.
Study design, materials and methods
The study has reviewed:
1. The demographic development in the major regions and countries.
2. The expansion of the global markets within institutions and long-term care, patient and users in home care settings.
3. Distribution plays a major role for users to get access to various disposable absorbent products. Therefore, various distribution channels have been studied, e.g. retail such as super-markets, pharmacies and on-line with e-commerce and internet malls, as well as the concentration of various distribution networks supplying institutions, care-giver and home-care organizations.
4. Furthermore, the study has reviewed various types and designs of products to meet everyone’s needs, the use and impact of materials for each product composition and the expected advantages with these types and designs.
Although incontinence presents a negative economic, societal and personal impact on individuals, care givers and society, a steady stream of new products and technical solutions are invented to facilitate care and provide users with options for a normal and dignified quality of life.
The speed of innovation is increasing, especially in product designs, choices and combinations of materials and distribution models.
Elderly may suffer from sensitive and fragile skin. The impact of product design and material combinations on skin care shows increasing awareness and scientific research among producers to provide products to meet such needs.
With the more recent personalisation, on-line segmentation and distribution, users in need can find products to meet everyone’s needs.
In addition, use of various new devices with sensors incorporated in incontinence products to identify how and when bladder leakage occurs have been identified with the target to facilitate and rapidly assess the need of care for care-providers and elderly in various care situations.
Interpretation of results
Facing the demographic development, the needs for high quality discreet disposable absorbent incontinence products will drive further development of incontinence management solutions.
Although the composition of materials in “incontinence diapers” might seem simple, the complexity and structures of these products are based on both scientific and in-use test results for optimal absorption, reduced leakage, healthy skin, reduction of odours, user acceptance and care-provider support. Further studies may generate insights for health care professionals as well as product manufacturers to develop even better products and continence solutions.
With broader distribution networks and improved communication tools, care-providers and individuals can easily find information and support to manage bladder and stool leakage. This applies not only for elderly, but to middle-aged as well as young people in need of discreet and sensitive support.
With new devices with sensors inside “incontinence diapers” connected wirelessly to a smart-phone or computer, care-givers may benefit from instant monitoring and care to avoid patients using wet diapers for a long time, reduce the prevalence of skin problems and reduce the risk to fall, especially for fragile elderly.
There are many opportunities to innovate and present new product solutions for potential, especially younger users as well as care-givers.
New designs incorporating wireless technology represents a way forward for optimal continence management in long-term wards and home care. Efficient identification and monitoring of each individual’s continence pattern will lead to a reduction, but the right type of products needed, reduced prevalence of skin problems and may also reduce the risk to fall, resulting in less bone fractures. In addition, nursing staff may have more time for patient care instead of constant changing of diapers.
It is recommended to initiate scientific studies in continence management based on new technology, new devices and new designs.