The two primary types of underpad used in hospitals are disposable underpads and washable or reusable underpads. In this article, we will discuss the features of these two types of underpads in more detail. Here, it must be mentioned that although the biggest consumers of these products are hospitals and nursing homes, individuals with bed-ridden patients, disabled or elderly individuals or even those with babies at home can and do use these pads.
The disposable underpads as their name suggests, are meant for one time use. They are available in a range of construction types and sizes. They usually contain a waterproof plastic material for the bottom, a middle layer designed to absorb liquid and a top layer made from a soft and comfortable fabric. The middle layer usually houses multiple layers of tissue to absorb fluids. The topmost layer of these units come in contact with the patient’s body, therefore manufacturers use materials such as cotton that will make patients are comfortable while using their disposable underpads. You will also come across pieces in which the top sheets are made up of tissues or a tear-resistant spun-bond material that allows for movement without fear of ripping the pad.
There are some disposable underpads carrying top sheets attached to the plastic layer at the bottom by means of an adhesive. Then, there are others with two sides rolled and glued to ensure that the liquid comes out only from the side in case the pad overfills. Experts refer to this process as channeling. The pads adopting this process are known to be more absorbent compared to the other underpads available on the market. You can get all these disposable underpads in a range of sizes; so, purchasing pads that match your body, bed or chair size will be simple.
Now, we will be talking about the washable or reusable underpads. These pieces are classified based on factors such as absorbency, materials, and size. The term absorbency refers to the volume of urine or bodily fluid that an underpad is capable of holding. The material used for crafting the absorbent layer is a kind of absorbing polymer.
The quantity of polymer used and the material’s density are two factors that decide how much liquid the underpad is capable of absorbing; basically, the underpad’s urine holding capacity. Here, it must be noted that one should never confuse an underpad’s absorbency level with its size. A pad that’s large in length and width might not absorb the most urine.
After absorbing the urine, reusable underpads need to secure it in a liquid-proof barrier. This is essential to prevent the urine from soaking through the bedding. These liquid proof barriers are made either of urethane or of vinyl. The vinyl structures, although more cost-effective, are not breathable; additionally; they can take a lot of time to fully dry. The urethane structures are more expensive, but don’t have the issues we generally associate with vinyl underpads.
Now, let’s discuss the appropriate size of underpads. When buying an underpad, you must ensure that you have at least 6 to 10 inches around your waist i.e. the target zone. This stands true for both underpad types, disposable and reusable and allows enough coverage to adequately contain fluids. Smaller sized pads are designed for use in chairs and make excellent absorbers in baby cribs or on diaper changing tables. Many hospitals use small pads in bassinets for easy clean up.