Libra Sheath Study Day: A Round Up
On Thursday 27th July we hosted our very own Study Day, “Libra Sheath – a better alternative to pads” in conjunction with the Oxfordshire Adult Bladder and Bowel Service. Located in the quiet Oxfordshire village of Cassington, it was ideally situated for healthcare professionals in the county to attend. Here we look at what was discussed and the key takeaway points from the session.
Section 1: Who are Great Bear Healthcare
After everyone had arrived and enjoyed some tea, coffee and breakfast pastries Vincent Morse, one of the Regional Sales Managers here at Great Bear got up and gave a little overview to who we are. For those that did not know of us, it allowed them to find out a bit about the company behind the Libra Sheath, and why manufacturing high quality, life-enhancing products is so important to us.
Section 2: Background to Urinary Incontinence
Next up was Carrie Lincoln, Clinical Lead for Oxfordshire Adult Bladder and Bowel Service. Carrie gave an overview to urinary incontinence starting with the prevalence of incontinence in the UK, causes and main types of incontinence, diagnosis and finally the treatment and management of incontinence symptoms.
Section 3: Incontinence Pads: A Necessary Evil?
Moving on into the main focus of the study day – why are pads used and what problems can pad usage lead to? In this informative section, we learnt how pad usage could lead to skin integrity issues, increase the falls risk to the patient and how lack of dignity with pads can affect the users’ mental health. We also learnt the staggering cost of pads to the NHS which was £80 million in 2018, with day time pads costing £75 per patient per month and night time pads up to £64 per patient per month! A comparison showed that using a sheath system over pads could save the NHS almost £450 per patient, per year.
It wasn’t only the financial cost that was discussed; we also learnt how an incontinence pad can take 9oo years to biodegrade whereas a sheath, made of silicone, takes 50 years.
Section 4: Libra Sheath Range and Accessories
We then looked at sheaths (also known as “Condom Catheters” or “Conveens”) in more detail; looking at what options were available and the criteria that would dictate if a sheath system would be suitable for a patient.
We then broke away for discussions over the barriers you may come up against when recommending a sheath system, the problems that you may come across and, most importantly, how to overcome these.
Once we had considered the reasons why a sheath system may be a preferable option over a pad, we looked at the Libra Sheath in more detail – including a tug test to demonstrate how good the adhesive is at ensuring the Libra Sheath will stay in place in use. We also looked at the GB Soft Skin range of adhesive removers and barrier wipes which will help get the most out of the sheath system.
Section 5: Alternatives of Sheaths
We appreciate that a sheath system might not be suitable for everyone so it was time to look at other alternatives that are available on Drug Tariff. Cheryl Alsop, Nightingale Nurse Specialist, went over a range of appliances that could be used in situations where a sheath isn’t a viable option. Methods discussed included penile pouches, which can be used when a penis is too small for a sheath, body worn appliances, for penile retraction or lack of cognitive ability to use a sheath, and funnels which can be used to direct urine into a toilet, urinal or commode.
The Practical Session
After a much needed lunch break to digest all the information provided, it was time for participants to get hands on with a sheath system as practice makes perfect. Under the guidance of Carrie, Lacey, Vince and Cheryl, everyone was encouraged to fit and remove a sheath using our eye-catching, bright orange, silicone penis models!
Key Take Home Points
There was a lot of information to take onboard during this five hour session so here are the key take home points.
- Incontinence pads are overused in the community and they come at a great cost to the NHS, the patient’s dignity and the environment
- For men, a sheath system can provide a practical, comfortable and more dignified method of incontinence management
- Correct sizing first time is critical. If a sheath is too big or too small it won’t be comfortable and may come off; if the product initially doesn’t work you will face reluctance in getting the patient to try again. Use a measuring guide and correct sizing techniques
- Utilise the accessories available. One of the reasons you would switch to a sheath system is to prevent skin sores; you don’t then want to cause skin issues through using a sheath. Ensure you are using barrier products and adhesive removers to protect the integrity of the skin whilst using a sheath system
- If a sheath system is not viable for your patient, explore other appliances that are available on prescription before reverting to pads. If unsure, you can book a nurse assessment to determine what appliance would be best suited.