NAFC Council Issues National Quality Performance Standards for Absorbent Products

Newswise — A council headed by the National Association For Continence (NAFC) released its recommended national quality performance standards for disposable adult absorbent products for incontinence in the frail, elderly and/or disabled populations. The council focused on products provided and paid for by states to Medicaid waiver recipients, cared for in their private homes, but the recommendations are considered applicable to consumer purchases of retail product as well as product purchased for use by hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers and similar facilities. The recommendations are being publicly vetted for commentary for a 60-day period ending early September. Final recommendations will be released shortly thereafter and are anticipated before yearend 2012.

The recommendations cover eight specific characteristics:

  1. Rewet—A measure of a product’s ability to withstand multiple incontinent episodes.
  2. Rate of acquisition (ROA)—A measure of the speed at which urine is drawn away from the skin.
  3. Retention capacity—A measure of a product’s capacity to hold fluid without leaking.
  4. Sizing options—Each state should make available for choice by users a selection of youth and adult sizes to optimize fit and performance and reduce waste.
  5. Safety—As an assurance of safety, none of the components in an absorbent product should be listed in any Federal Regulatory Agency as being “unsafe”.
  6. Presence of a closure system—To prevent waste, products should incorporate a “mechanical” closure system to allow for multiple unfastening and refastening.
  7. Breathable zones—An acceptable minimum air flow in side “wings” of the product sufficient to release trapped body heat/gaseous body perspiration in these areas.
  8. Ability to contain fecal matter/loose stool—Evidence of the product’s ability to deliver a gentle, snug fit using leg and waistband elastics.

The council suggests that every state should make a reasonable effort to periodically survey volunteer home caregivers regarding product performances and manufacturers/distributors should be required to submit minimum test results to states in order to qualify as a vendor. Any vender or manufacturer who fraudulently substitutes inferior product after being approved should be barred from supplying product to that state’s beneficiaries for a probationary period. Additionally each state should have written guidelines for determining the medical necessity for absorbent products.

“The loss of bladder control affects millions of Americans. As our population continues to grow older so will the need for high performance incontinence products that both protect the skin and a person’s dignity,” stated Eric Rovner, MD, professor of urology at the Medical University of South Carolina. “Some states do not have any quality standards set for these products. The recommendations provided by this council are a much needed for this particularly vulnerable population. These guidelines are equally important to guard against waste, foolish spending and fraudulent practices.”

The council, formed at the initiative of NAFC, has been meeting monthly for the past 18 months in developing the recommendations. The complete draft recommendations can be found on NAFC’s website, where a link to the online survey for commentary and feedback is located. NAFC encourages feedback from all stakeholders including state and federal agencies, product manufacturers and distributors and related parties including industry suppliers, consultants, medical professional societies and patient advocacy organizations. Members of the council consist of individuals responsible for managing the Medicaid waiver programs for their respective states in various regions of the country, specifically California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas and South Carolina; technical directors from the leading nonwovens manufacturers in the U.S., including Attends Healthcare Products, First Quality, Kimberly Clark and SCA. Other council members consist of Rory Holmes, the executive director of the Nonwovens Industry Association (INDA), a volunteer caregiver and representative of the National Family Caregivers Association and Dorothy Doughty, MSN, professor of nursing at Emory University and past president of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society.

About NAFC:
The National Association For Continence is a 501(c) 3 corporation whose mission is threefold: 1) to educate the public about the causes, diagnosis categories, treatment options and management alternatives for incontinence, voiding dysfunction, nocturnal enuresis and related pelvic floor disorders; 2) to network with other organizations and agencies to elevate the visibility and priority given to these areas; and 3) to advocate on behalf of consumers who suffer from such symptoms as a result of disease or other illness, obstetrical, surgical or other trauma, or deterioration due to the aging process itself. NAFC is broadly funded by consumers, healthcare professionals and industry. It is the world’s largest and most prolific consumer advocacy organization devoted exclusively to this field.