Buyers' guide to incontinence products - helping you make the right choice for your residents

Buyers' guide to incontinence products - helping you make the right choice for your residents

This guide includes

  • product options
  • information charts
  • choosing the best fit
  • getting the best fit
  • how pads work

elderly lady are carer

Knowing your residents is paramount in choosing the right type of product that will suit their needs and yours. This guide has been put together by the experts at Gompels to help you.


Light shaped padslight shaped pad

  • The next step up from sanitary towels
  • Ideal for leaks and dribbles
  • Special versions for men
  • Can be surprisingly absorbent and discreet
  • Most come with adhesive strips for added security
  • Fully disposable
  • Odour control

Best for:

  • Active lifestyle
  • Light to moderate urinary or faecal incontinence
  • Own underwear or net pant

Shaped padsshaped pads

  • The most economical option for incontinence
  • Best used with close fitting, fuller brief underwear, or net pants to maintain the right position and pressure
  • Several levels of absorbency to cover the full range of urinary incontinence
  • Fully disposable
  • Odour control
  • Available for both men and women

Best for:

  • Residents of all levels of mobility
  • For moderate urinary or faecal incontinence
  • Own underwear or net pant

Men's pads can be used with the larger side to the front for extra absorbency

Net pantsnet pants

  • Soft, discreet and comfortable to wear
  • A must for shaped pads to work properly
  • Machine washable
  • No side seams so no pressure points
  • Wide range of sizes

Best for:

  • Residents of all levels of mobility
  • Moderate urinary or faecal incontinence

Make sure to use the correct size net pants - one size does not fit all!

All in onesall in ones

  • Best option for faecal incontinence
  • Options for textile (often called 'cotton feel'), breathable backings
  • Double cuffs for extra protection
  • Adjustable sides with resealable tape
  • Secure confidence boosting fit
  • Fully disposable
  • Odour control

Best for:

  • Immobile residents or wheelchair bound
  • Moderate to heavy urinary and faecal incontinence

For extra absorbency use with net pants on top

Pull upspull ups

  • Loved by those who want a discreet option that is easy to self use - simply pull them up!
  • Choose from textile (often called 'cotton feel') or plastic backing - textile is best for promoting healthy skin, whilst plastic backed are better at preventing leaks
  • Non rustle fabric for extra discreet feel
  • Can be easily removed by tearing the side seams
  • Fully disposable
  • Odour control

Best for:

  • Active to semi-inactive level of mobility
  • Light to moderate urinary and faecal incontinence

Easily removed with tearable side seams

Types of incontinence

Stress incontinencestress incontinence

Resident might leak urine when their bladder is put under pressure such as when they sneeze, laugh, cough or when lifting.

Urge incontinenceurge incontinence

If your resident gets a sudden urgency to urinate but cannot make it to the bathroom in time

Overflow incontinenceoverflow incontinence

>When your resident is unable to totally empty their bladder and has frequent leaks.

Total incontinencetotal incontinence

If your resident is unable to store any urine and leaks constantly. They may also suffer from faecal incontinence.

Level of mobility

The level of mobility of your residents can also determine the choice of protection used.


Residents who can move without aid and can fully self care.

Semi active​semi active

If your resident is relatively active but needs some assistance.

Semi inactivesemi inactive

If your resident has some degree of mobility but needs more assistance, or is wheelchair bound some of the time.


Resident is mostly or completely bed ridden and with limited capability to self care.

product suitability chart

Size matters

Getting the right fit is just as important as getting the right product. Ill fitting pads can lead to leakages and additional health problems. The key is to accurately match the resident's measurement to the size chart of the brand you are buying, as each brand varies with the sizing of their products.

Two ways to measure and adult

Lying down

lying down application

  • With your resident lying flat on their back measure across the widest part of their stomach
  • Double the measurement to give you their total waist circumference
  • Measure the hips at their widest part in the same way
  • Double this number to give the hip measurement
  • Using the larger of the two numbers check the sizing guide of the brand you are buying to find the best size of product

Standing up

standing up application

  • With your resident standing measure around their waist at the widest point for women and the slimmest part for men
  • Also measure their hips at their widest point
  • Using the larger of the two numbers check the sizing guide of the brand you are buying to find the best size of product


  • Decide on the correct absorbency - our Product Suitability Chart will help you to do this accurately
  • We recommend measuring around the waist to ascertain the correct size product
  • Always fold the pad lengthways before inserting, to activate the leakage barriers
  • Always insert the pad from front to back
  • Ensure the wider part of the pad is towards the back (unless using a mens pad deliberately that way round)
  • Always remove the pad from the back first, to avoid contamination
  • Once the pad or pants is removed, roll it up and dispose of it in a sealed bag


  • Do not shake the pad as this can disturb the core which could affect the absorbency and performance
  • Use two pads on top of each other to increase absorbency
  • Apply excess barrier creams as this reduces absorbency
  • Leave on the wearer if discomfort is reported

A guide to fitting the different types of incontinence products

Getting the best fit will ensure that the wearer is comfortable and will also minimise the risk of leakage. Here we show you how...

Fitting of shaped padsfitting shaped pads

  • Once the pad is removed from its packaging, gently unfold it and refold lengthways to form a channel in the middle of the pad. If the pad is elasticated, allow this to help in the shaping and cupping of the product.
  • With the underwear (or the net pants) pulled up to the knees, remove the paper adhesive strip (if there is one), from the pad.
  • Carefully position the pad in the crotch area of the resident so that any urine will go into the centre of the pad.
  • Pull the underwear (or net pants) up from back to front, making sure that the pad is nice and straight for maximum comfort and even distribution of urine into the middle layer. Ensure there is sufficient contact of the pad is made with the wearer.

If you do put the pad into the pant (rather than on the resident first), ensure the outer cuff does not get pulled into the groin area when pulling up the pants.

Fitting of all in onesfitting all in ones

  • Once the all in one is removed from its packaging, unfold it and gently pull out the sides. Refold lengthways to form a channel in the middle of the pad.
  • Position evenly between the resident's legs, ensuring the tabbed part is to the back.
  • Pull up the front and open out the sides.
  • Wrap the back section around the front of the body.
  • Fix securely using the adhesive tabs, making sure that they are aligned horizontally, and check for any gaps around the waist and legs.
  • Smooth out the pad around the crotch area, ensuring sufficient contact of the all in one is made with the wearer.

Fitting of pull upsfitting pull ups

  • Remove the pull up from its packaging and fold in half lengthways to activate the anti-leak cuffs.
  • Make sure that you have the pants the right way round and that they are not damaged. The pull ups can now be stepped into.
  • Pull the pants up, checking that they are secure and comfortable, making sure that the cuffs have not been turned inwards.
  • To remove the pull ups either pull them down or tear down the side seams.

Key features to look out for

light shaped pad key featuresshaped pad key features

all in ones key featurespull ups key features

We recommend

For proper disposal of all incontinence products, we recommend using a strong, suitably sized bag such as our Heavy Duty Vest Carrier Bags Made with easy tie handles, these super-strong bags will ensure safe disposal of used products.

heavy duty vest carrier bags

By continuing to use our site you agree to us using cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Accept & Close