From the Editor

Vicki LeeperRecently I have heard about reimbursements plummeting for those living on government assistance that need incontinence products to stay independent. They have to strategize how to stretch the use of pull-on protective underwear to maximize the little they get. To make the product last longer some people have taken to wearing two pairs at the same time.  This is called “double-briefing”.

This option is NOT a clinically sound choice. It puts a persons skin in peril, causing skin breakdown or even UTI’s. Whatever limited breathability that brief may have had is further reduced by doubling the product. (The preferred option is flow booster pads, that can help absorb more and allow better breathability since they don’t have the moisture proof backing.)

While I was caring for my Mum, we had the similar situation happen with ostemy bags. Her insurance provided a certain number for her at regular intervals, but invariably something would go wrong, peeling back the adhesive wrong or something and a bag or two would be destroyed. That would leave us short for the end of the month before the next scheduled shipment.

We wanted to buy more. We could afford to buy more. But for some inexplicable reason these were unavailable to purchase through private pay. We had the prescription, size, and all of that but they wouldn’t sell us extra.

That made me think these bags must be extremely rare and valuable on the black market. Obviously so as they wouldn’t allow us to purchase more than we need because we might start selling them on the sly ~ ”Psst! I have some great poop bags here in my coat, are you interested?”

And when we did look like we were going to run short, all manner of strategies were put in place to make sure that the “good” ones that were left lasted as long as possible til the next shipment came in. (God forbid it got a pin hole!) I’m sure if we could have figured out a double-briefing method, or in this case “double-bagging”, in order to stretch the product further we would have come up with it.

My point is, for something so simple, why is it still a struggle in this country? I don’t see anyone giving away their protective underwear or ostemy bags on street corners, so why is this stuff managed so tightly? A country that plans on building a “wall” ought to be able to provide this stuff to those that need it.

You can email me at vicki@dacnw.org

Vicki Leeper