How do we handle the bathroom issues of a brother with MS who is losing mobility and is unable to make it to the bathroom?

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(((((((saturn)))))) Many here feel that they cannot go on. Others are able to. Caregiving is extremely physically, and emotionally draining. There is no shame in being one of the ones who cannot go on. 24/7 nursing an ill person who has limited mobility etc is a huge task. Professionals have shifts, and time off. You do have alternatives - either hire someone to come in, so you have some days/nights off, hire full time caregivers, or long term care. All of these require some financial resources. Are there any agencies in your city/town who could advise you of what is available? There can be benefits to the patient in long term care with more socializing, various programs etc, How does your brother feel about it? You mention family. Do you have a husband and children, or are you both living with other family members? How do they feel? Everybody's needs should be considered, not just the ill person. Is it time to have a talk with your brother about possible placement soon, or in the future? His needs for care will only increase as the MS progresses, and you need a plan that works for all of you. If it is too much for you, you need to face that, and deal with it, with loving concern for all. Don't put yourself last, as many caregivers are prone to do. Your health - physical and mental can be (are?) affected by caregiving. Let us know how you are doing. Even venting helps, but I do think you need a plan for the future.
More ((((((hugs)))))) Joan
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Does anybody feel that they just cannot do this everday?? That is too physically and mentally draining?? I see only 2 choices. 24hr caregiver or long term care. Very confused and upset about the whole thing. Just do not know at this point..
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Clothes with zips and small button holes are a problem. Anther genius idea of mine was to put my dear husband in stripper pants that I can whip off in a flash. I haven't got round to this yet but have adjusted buttons etc to make it easier. I also debated letting him not wear underpants because he is not incontinent, it's just that when he needs to go HE NEEDS TO GO IMMEDIATELY! But the underpants have helped contain stuff in public which would normally fall onto the floor out of his pants. I don't fancy leaving a brown trail as we walk through the shops. Perhaps the time is near for us to get pull-up nappies.
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Saturn, I have the same problem with my Mom. She is 91 in late stage dementia/alz and doesnt walk or talk. In the morning I lift her into the wheelchair and then put it close to the toilet so her feet land and only have to pivot. I lift her up and pivot her, drop her pjs and place her down on the toilet. I wash her there and she needs help getting her bowels moving so its a morning routine. The lifting is tough and my arms are aching from doing it for 2 years. I have a hoyer now but havent figured out how to get her pants off once in the bathroom. I suppose if you take off his bottom half and put him into a hoyer sling, You can hoyer him onto a toilet or commode. You would need to get a U-Sling in which the "rear end" is open. As bad as my Mom is, she wont do her BM's laying or reclining so I need to put her on daily.
Coleen, you could buy disposible bed pads for the floor, they are 12-25 cents each on amazon. Some are 50 cents each and I cut them in half for her wheelchair. I also had to put mom in unstrippable pjs. Good luck to both of you.
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Thanks for the suggestions. I should have explained that my brother has a catheter in place permanently so this is a bowel problem. He was able to move to commode until Sept when he suffered seizures and quite a change in physical strength. In rehab center where he was for 3 weeks he was just put in diaper and that is how they handled it. Quite different here at home where we are responsible 24hrs a day and never sure when he will be going, He doesn't really know himself right now so there is no schedule at all. Cleanup could be 3-4 times a day and at any hour. Very difficult for the family right now but we were glad he is home. Any more ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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This is always one of those unpleasent things that caregivers rarely hear about when we take the job. My grandmother is unable to control either her bladder or bowels so this is a dayily things for me.

First off, get rid of the embaressment as fast as you can. You are going to have to get up close and personal real quick. I know it's strange and ackward, but it has to be done. As for his embaressment, just try to make it as much a part of everyday living, don't make a big deal out of it.
Diapers help, as do absorbtion pads. You can buy them at hospital supply places and then place them on top of the sheet at night to help contain everything. For a quick cheap method a emply trash bad and an old towel works to.
If he is still able to make it out of bed to a toliet or a bedside commode then try to make it a habit to at least try to sit on the toliet once every few hours or so. It's always eaiser to clean a pot then a person.
The last thing I can say, at least with my experience is that he is also going to need more washing up/bathing. Even with the diapers, the exposure to more urine/fecal matter will mean that he will be more prone to infections and rashes.
Also, as mentioned above, white viniger and a good washing machine are going to become your new best friends for clean up of floors, furinture and soiled clothing/bedding.

Good luck and hope some of this helps.
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Happyjack - You're right about needing a male urinal but for pooping while standing I can't imagine what would help. In a moment of madness/genius I thought what I need is a bowl in front of my husband to catch the wee and a kind of gravy boat thing behind him to catch the poop. haha. Oh dear - the things we think of in a moment of desperation.
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I male urinal would be of tremendous help; can get these nearly anywhere. For bowel movements, a bed pan might also help. This is if he has enough sensation to give you some warning.
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When my husband with Alzheimers is embarrassed about this problem I just act very nonchalant and say, "Nonsense - We ALL go to the toilet so we don't mind cleaning you up." At night I put an extra towel on the floor next to the bed to catch random weeing, and have a bedside lamp I can switch on quickly. I have a plastic bowl thing that I use to catch wee in if my husband is standing and weeing all over the place. I also have a large supply of white vinegar and bicarb because it helps to wash the smell out of carpets as soon as possible. P.S. Washing up gloves and doctors disposable rubber gloves are essentials.
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Hi, saturn49. You probably already know the answer, but sometimes it's a tough one to accept. If your brother is losing mobility and eliminating before reaching the bathroom, an adult undergarment (diaper) is really the best solution for making clean-up simpler and to afford him the dignity of not having soiled his clothing. There are products to handle all degrees of unintended loss of control. All the best to you both.
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