Advocating & Supporting Caregivers In the Diaper Gap

caregiver aiding patient

Key Takeaways:

  • The diaper gap forces caregivers to choose between incontinence supplies and basic needs.
  • Lack of affordable incontinence products harms health and increases caregiver stress.
  • Aeroflow Urology raises awareness and helps families get affordable supplies through insurance.

Imagine choosing between buying essential incontinence supplies and other necessities like food or electricity. This is a reality for many caregivers. In fact, out of over 1,000 people surveyed by Aeroflow Urology, 66% had to choose between purchasing incontinence supplies and other necessities like food or utilities. This staggering statistic highlights a critical issue that demands our attention and action.

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Child's First Name
Child's Last Name
Child's Date of Birth Please provide the date of birth for the person in need of continence care supplies (yourself, your child, etc.)
Date
Phone
State
Zip Code
Child's Insurance Provider Your insurance type is most frequently found at the top of your insurance card.
Name of Insurance Carrier
Member ID Your Member ID is typically found on the front of your insurance card and may be listed as Member ID, Member #, Subscriber ID, Subscriber # or Policy #. This can be a combination of letters and numbers.
Child's Medical Condition In order to receive coverage for continence care supplies, Medicaid requires a diagnosed medical condition related to your child's incontinence.
Name of Child's Medical Condition
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Imagine choosing between buying essential incontinence supplies and other necessities like food or electricity. This is a reality for many caregivers. In fact, out of over 1,000 people surveyed by Aeroflow Urology, 66% had to choose between purchasing incontinence supplies and other necessities like food or utilities. This staggering statistic highlights a critical issue that demands our attention and action.

If you are reading this and can relate to the rising costs of incontinence supplies, I want to let you know that you are not alone. This is a national crisis that is referred to as the diaper gap. The diaper gap refers to the national crisis where caregivers struggle to afford diapers for children, adults with incontinence, and loved ones with disabilities. 

I want to spread more awareness on this national crisis because not only are we gathering these jarring statistics from surveys, but as an Occupational Therapist working in several different care communities, I've witnessed this firsthand, and I've seen how this affects my patients and their families in long-term care communities. Many of my patient's families have had to purchase items like pull-ups and pads out of pocket because they were told insurance and / or the community wouldn't cover them. 

This situation clearly reflects the broader challenges faced in the diaper gap. Now, let's delve deeper into the diaper gap to understand its impact better and explore potential solutions for addressing this critical issue.

Jump To:

Understanding the Diaper Gap

Statistics & Realities of Diaper Need

Impact on Caregivers

Addressing the Diaper Gap

Advocacy & Solutions

Different Types of Incontinence Products

INCONTINENCE PRODUCTS THROUGH INSURANCE:

Aeroflow Urology is in-network with many Medicaid and Medicaid-managed insurance plans and is accredited by Medicaid. Complete our Eligibility Form, and we’ll automatically check to see if your plan covers incontinence supplies. ***Must meet certain requirements to qualify.***

You will also receive the care and attention every person managing incontinence deserves: A personalized list of 100% insurance-covered incontinence supplies, a dedicated Continence Care Specialist you can contact during business hours, a user-friendly online portal for easy monthly reordering, and educational content.

Get the continence care you need with the dignity you deserve. Join the Aeroflow Urology family today! It only takes 5 minutes to get started.

Understanding the Diaper Gap

The diaper gap affects a wide range of individuals beyond just infants. Adults with incontinence, seniors, and families caring for loved ones with disabilities also face this challenge. Incontinence products are crucial for maintaining dignity and health, but the inability to afford or access them can pose significant hygiene issues and health risks.

For example, this could lead to skin breakdown, risk for UTIs, and other infections. As you can imagine, this creates a dilemma for caregivers striving to provide the best care possible under challenging circumstances.

Statistics & Realities of Diaper Need

Aeroflow Urology's survey of over 1,000 people reveals the harsh realities of the diaper gap:

  • Nearly 70% of respondents couldn't afford briefs (incontinence underwear), and 72% struggle to buy them regularly due to high costs.
  • 66% frequently chose between purchasing incontinence supplies and other necessities like food or utilities.
  • Over 40% have had to reuse products because they couldn't afford new ones.
  • Almost half of the fluid intake was limited for family members, and 53% missed essential events due to insufficient diapers.
  • 43% experienced severe complications, including infections and skin irritations, from insufficient supplies.
  • 60% reported negative impacts on mental health, including increased stress and anxiety.
  • Despite these struggles, 60% said their healthcare providers offered no assistance in acquiring products, and 55% received no resources for managing incontinence.

Impact on Caregivers

We all know that caring for a loved one is incredibly tough, and this financial burden just adds to the overwhelm. Caregivers really have one of the hardest jobs: They are doing their best to address their own needs while caring for their loved ones.

The emotional toll of managing tight budgets to cover essential incontinence supplies can strain relationships, diminish the quality of care provided, and even compromise the caregiver's own well-being.

This can also lead to increased stress, anxiety, and burnout. It's not just about the money—this burden can make an already challenging situation feel daunting, affecting every aspect of a caregiver's life, from their physical health to their mental health.

This can also lead to increased stress, anxiety, and burnout. It's not just about the money—this

caregiver with patientcaregiver with patient

burden can make an already challenging situation feel daunting, affecting every aspect of a caregiver's life, from their physical health to their mental health.

Addressing the Diaper Gap

Several factors contribute to the diaper gap. I will address just a few of these factors below. 

  • Rising costs: Diaper prices increased by nearly 9% during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Lack of federal assistance: Programs like WIC and SNAP do not cover diaper purchases.
  • Cost of living: The general rise in living costs has exacerbated the issue.
  • Increased demand for adult supplies: Some diaper banks struggle to meet a growing need for adult incontinence products.
  • Expenses for children with disabilities: Caring for a child with a disability can be extraordinarily costly, with estimates reaching over $1.4 million throughout their lifetime.
  • Expenses for caring for someone living with Alzheimer's: The costs associated with caring for someone with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia are also significant. For instance, if a caregiver is needed for 40 hours a week at a rate of $30 per hour, the annual cost amounts to approximately $62,400. This figure only covers the cost of care and does not include additional expenses for products, food, or other necessities. The cumulative financial burden of such care can overwhelm caregivers, making it difficult to manage their responsibilities and mental health.
  • Rising costs: Diaper prices increased by nearly 9% during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Lack of federal assistance: Programs like WIC and SNAP do not cover diaper purchases.
  • Cost of living: The general rise in living costs has exacerbated the issue.
  • Increased demand for adult supplies: Some diaper banks struggle to meet a growing need for adult incontinence products.
caregiver pushing patient in wheelchaircaregiver pushing patient in wheelchair
  • Expenses for children with disabilities: Caring for a child with a disability can be extraordinarily costly, with estimates reaching over $1.4 million throughout their lifetime.
  • Expenses for caring for someone living with Alzheimer's: The costs associated with caring for someone with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia are also significant. For instance, if a caregiver is needed for 40 hours a week at a rate of $30 per hour, the annual cost amounts to approximately $62,400. This figure only covers the cost of care and does not include additional expenses for products, food, or other necessities. The cumulative financial burden of such care can overwhelm caregivers, making it difficult to manage their responsibilities and mental health.

Advocacy & Solutions

Aeroflow Urology is taking significant steps to bridge the diaper gap by raising awareness and providing practical solutions:

  • Awareness campaigns: Aeroflow is working closely with its government relations team to educate the public about the diaper gap and its impact on caregivers. Aeroflow is also advocating for change at a higher level and providing accessibility to incontinence care for all.
  • Affordable access: Helping families access affordable incontinence supplies through insurance and state benefits.
  • Insurance assistance: Assisting caregivers in determining eligibility for Medicaid and other benefits to cover the cost of supplies.

Different Types of Incontinence Products

For those of you who are reading this post and wondering what an incontinence product is, let me share a few options based on my experience working with patients in different care communities.

  1. Pull-ups or disposable underwear: These are designed for discretion and comfort, resembling regular underwear that can be easily pulled on and off. Pull-ups are suitable for relatively mobile individuals who can manage their toileting with some assistance. Pull-ups can offer similar protection to briefs, depending on the brand and absorbency level.
  2. Adult briefs: Often referred to as diapers, I prefer the term "briefs" for a more respectful approach. Briefs have side tabs for secure closure and provide maximum absorbency, making them ideal for individuals with moderate to severe incontinence. Briefs are an excellent choice for those who require full assistance from a caregiver for their incontinence needs.
  3. Bladder control pads: Pads are a versatile option for those who need light to moderate protection. Incontinence pads can be worn with regular underwear. These are ideal for managing minor leaks or additional protection alongside other incontinence products.

These products are great options for maintaining dignity, comfort, and hygiene for those with incontinence and offer practical solutions to the challenges caregivers face. While Aeroflow Urology is working to spread awareness around this diaper gap, they are always here to help you check to see if your insurance covers incontinence supplies. Join the over 2 million patients who trust Aeroflow to verify their insurance coverage today!

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The diaper gap is a critical issue affecting caregivers and those they care for, forcing difficult choices between essential incontinence supplies and basic needs. Awareness and advocacy are vital to ensuring better access to these necessary products.

Organizations like Aeroflow Urology are leading the charge, offering assistance with insurance benefits to make incontinence supplies more affordable. If you or a loved one is struggling, check your eligibility for assistance with Aeroflow Urology’s Eligibility Form. Together, we can bridge the diaper gap and improve the quality of life for everyone involved.


About the Author

mary osbornemary osborne

Mary Osborne has been working as an Occupational Therapist in Austin, Texas. She is a Guest Writer and Influencer for Aeroflow Urology. She is certified in Teepa Snows Positive Approach to Care as a PAC Certified Independent Consultant. Mary owns her own consulting company in Austin and writes for the Your Dementia Therapist blog. 


Disclaimer

Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or care from a healthcare professional. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.

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