Better quality underpads (chux) are constructed with an absorbent material side and typically include a non-permeable layer (waterproof / urine proof layer) to prevent leakage to the bedding or furniture underneath. The term Chux and bedpad and underpad are somewhat interchangeable.
Chux pads are found universally in medical settings on medical examining tables, hospital beds and any other areas where patients sit or lie down. Modern chux under pads were born in the 1950s and 1960s when nursing homes evolved away from using newspapers as an absorbent material and the paper products industry responded with the creation of disposable pads with a blue plastic backsheet and an absorbent top layer. These disposable bedpads could then be "chucked" away once filled with body fluids.
Depending on the environment, the use of chux / bedpads has evolved over time. Convalescent centers, nursing homes, and assisted living centers sometimes rely exclusive on underpads to manage incontinence with their patients. We have heard horror stories of institutions using multiple underpads as a urineproof barrier where the patient is allowed to sit or lie in urine soaked chux. This leads directly to skin dermatitis and is a humiliating experience for the patient..
Conversely in the home setting, we see home caregivers using underpads as a barrier of last resort to prevent undue laundering of bed clothes. At Parentgiving, we strongly advocate the practice of using the most appropriate absorbency diaper, pullup, or brief to manage incontinence — especially overnight incontinence -and if undue leakage still occurs, then to employ a chux pad as a barrier of last resort to prevent excessive laundering
. The savings in time and effort of reducing extra laundering by once or twice a week is well worth the expense of the disposable bedpad.
For home caregivers who are addressing the challenge of incontinence with superabsorbent diapers, we are seeing a dramatic rise in the use of reusable underpads
. The reusable underpads have a non-permeable layer (waterproof layer) for protection, and a cotton blend top layer which sandwiches absorbent material in-between. These reusable underpads can be rinsed, or washed separately as needed. Most of the reusable underpads can be laundered well over one hundred times, and some have odor protection material as well in the absorbency layer. Our top rated and best selling reusable underpads can be found here
When selecting an underpad to be used in conjunction with an absorbent incontinence brief, we encourage that you choose an underpad that is wide enough to cover the area where the user will be sleeping (and moving). Used in conjunction with an absorbent diaper, the underpad is used as a barrier of last resort and area coverage is more important that absorption capacity. If using an underpad alone, then absorption capacity becomes more important. If sleep movement is a concern, then an underpad designed with flaps or with an underpad holder to hold the pad in place might make more sense.
If using chux in conjunction with pressure relief mattresses, you should select an underpad with airflow capabilities. Airflow underpads have specially designed backsheets that are non-permeable (waterproof) but also breathable. Allowing for airflow in an underpad that covers a pressure relief mattress is important for maintaining skin health. Find more information about pressure ulcers and incontinence here