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How to Change Elderly Diapers

By Amanda Knaebel ; Updated June 13, 2017

Elderly adults who suffer from urinary problems and weak bladders often wear adult diapers to help keep them clean and reduce embarrassing accidents. Changing elderly diapers periodically is important to preventing rash, odor and infections. While some elderly people are able to change their own diapers and clean themselves appropriately, others need help due to physical or mental limitations. Changing an elderly diaper is similar to changing a baby’s diaper, though you may find it more difficult due to the increased weight and size of an adult.

  1. Put on a clean pair of latex gloves that fits your hand size. Gather a clean diaper, moist wipes, a bed pad and powder or lotion if necessary so that you will not have to leave the elderly individual.

  2. Unfasten the diaper tabs and gently roll the patient on his side facing away from you. If he needs help, position your hands on his hips and gently help him roll onto his side. Help him pull his knees up toward his chest.

  3. Slide a clean bed pad over the sheets along the patient’s backside to avoid soiling the sheets during the diaper change.

  4. Roll the soiled diaper in on itself as you pull it out from between the patient’s legs. Fasten the tabs over the rolled diaper and promptly dispose of it in the trash or biowaste bin.

  5. Clean the patient’s genitals, bottom, thighs and any other soiled skin by wiping from front to back with a clean baby wipe.

  6. Guide the patient to roll over on her other side so you can finish the cleaning process. Use a fresh wipe to clean any areas you could not get to when the patient was lying on her opposite side.

  7. Apply a mild baby powder or lotion if the patient’s skin is irritated or red. When using lotion, rub a thin layer over the skin. Using too much can lead to excess moisture, which may cause a rash when you put the new diaper on the patient.

  8. Unfold a clean diaper and slide it between the patient’s legs, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles. A wrinkled diaper can rub against the patient’s skin, leading to irritation or bedsores.

  9. Help the patient roll onto his back and pull the diaper taut once again. Fasten the tabs securely and tug gently on the sides of the diaper to make sure it will not come loose when the patient moves around.

  10. Remove your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly in warm water with antibacterial soap.

  11. Tip

    Always make sure the patient has an ample supply of diapers in the correct size. Diapers that are too big or too small can lead to severe skin problems.

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