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A simple solution to an urgent problem in senior care facilities

(BPT) – Many, including those in the health care industry, view urinary incontinence (UI) and other overactive bladder symptoms (OAB) as one of the many side effects of aging, one that little can be done to remedy.

However, for those individuals who live with OAB, the loss of dignity they suffer and the anxiety and embarrassment that go along with having an overactive bladder, are much more severe than a mere side effect. More than embarrassing, OAB can be hazardous. Because the amount of times an individual must get up in the night to go to the bathroom, patients with an OAB diagnosis have a 40 percent higher risk of falling compared to people without an OAB diagnosis, according to a study presented at the 2015 meeting of the American Urological Association Meeting.

The many problems that come with OAB and UI are not only a matter of concern for individuals who must live with these conditions, but also make a significant financial impact on senior living and long term care facilities.

On the most basic level, OAB and UI reduce the quality of life for patients living in senior living facilities. The lack of sleep, anxiety and emotional issues that arise can put greater stress on the staff and affect other patients as well. Further resources are used in the number of sheets that must be changed, the cost of doing extra laundry, ointments and emergency response that is needed in the case of a fall.  When everything is factored together, the annual cost of incontinence in long term facilities is $5.5 billion, according to the Society for Post-Acute and Long Term Care Medicine.

Due to the cost associated with UI and OAB cases, as well as concerns with the common side effects and low adherence rates to OAB medications, senior living facilities are changing the way they address these conditions.

An increasing number of senior living facilities and continuing care retirement communities have had success with a non-drug, non-surgical neuromodulation therapy called percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS). This therapy has been proven to have both minimal side effects and a high rate of effectiveness in treating urinary incontinence.

A successful example of this kind of PTNS therapy is the Urgent PC Neuromodulation System, which consists of a hand-held Urgent PC Stimulator and a disposable Urgent PC Lead Set.  Because the system is portable, therapy is easily administered in a variety of settings.

Inserted above the ankle, a slim needle electrode transfers mild electrical impulses from the stimulator. These impulses travel up the tibial nerve to the sacral nerves that are responsible for the movement and sensory perception in the muscles that control bladder and bowel functions.  

Based on the results of 50 studies and over 1 million treatments, up to 80 percent of patients see an improvement after Urgent PC therapy. In fact, PTNS has proven so successful that it has been recommended in the American Urological Association’s (AUA) guidelines for the treatment of OAB and is covered by Medicare and most private payers.

This simple, minimally invasive treatment is a positive trend in solving a big problem for both individuals living with UI or OAB and senior care facilities who treat these individuals. For more information, visit blog.cogentixmedical.com/senior-living.

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