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Ergonomic comparison of different incontinence products and effects on time and physical demands on carers

26 October 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 19



Caregivers are at a high risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Efficiency in handling and changing patients' absorbent incontinence products may reduce the burden of caring.


This study aimed to compare various types of absorbent incontinence products from an ergonomic perspective and assess the length of time required for handling these products and the physical demand on caregivers' backs, hands and fingers.


A within-subject design was selected for two studies involving 64 experienced nurses. The first study was conducted at a test centre in Germany, while the second was performed at a hospital in France. Objective data, such as the time required to apply or change a product and physical stress on the back and hands/wrists, as well as users' subjective assessment of product handling were investigated.


Both objective and subjective assessments showed that elastic slips were superior to other slip products. The traditional and belted slips were the second-best products in the objective and subjective assessments respectively.


Choice of incontinence product influences the time required and the physical demands associated with handling. Both aspects can be considerably reduced with the use of appropriate absorbent incontinence products.

The use of absorbent incontinence products often poses major problems for patients, professional caregivers and relatives. Reducing such stress as much as possible (ie, rendering product handling easier) is of great importance not only regarding the development of absorbent incontinence products but also for reducing the burden of care (Delleman and Dul, 2005; Getliffe et al, 2007; Darragh et al, 2015).

Time is economically important in both inpatient and outpatient professional care. In particular, the number of daily changes required to ensure clothing and bed linen are protected from urine leakage are important, and such protection depends on the quality and security of incontinence products used.

The time required for handling (ie, applying, changing and removing) incontinence products is important to carers and patients. The more time spent, the greater the stress experienced by the caregivers and patients (Langa et al, 2002; Delleman and Dul, 2005; Santini et al, 2016).

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