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Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 31641
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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this question is for someone knowledgable in nursing home medical

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this question is for someone knowledgable in nursing home medical care. my parents have been forced to go to a nursing home by my brothers. their health is not bad. iv'e spent a lot of time with them over past years. i'm not aware that they have had any eleimination problems. the nursing home staff give them both stool softners every day. why would they do that.

Hello John,
I am Dr. Arun and will be helping you today.

Do you know the name of the stool softener?
Do they have any of following complaints;

Fewer than 3 bowel movements per week
Straining Lumpy or hard stools
Sensation of incomplete defecation?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

don't know name of softener. not aware of any complaints. and, as i said iv'e spent a lot of time with them; 24/7 at their lake home. have taken them and been present when they've talked to their doctor.

Hello John,

There are two kind of stool softeners;

1) Bulk producing stool softeners; these are used for long-term precaution, treatment of constipation, or both.
a) Psyllium (Metamucil)
b) Methycellulose (Citrucel)

2) Laxative stool softener like Docusate which is for patients who should avoid straining during defecation (like people who have previous heart attack, have heart ailments or had stroke). It allows incorporation of water and fat into stools, causing stools to soften.

There are usually no other reasons for which the stool softeners are given, though these only should be used when other measures like following have not helped at all;

1) Increased fibers in diet.
2) Increased fluid intake.

The nursing homes instead of being patient for the slightest of complain of constipation may occasionally rush to the medicines before giving trial to the above measures, especially in the old people as they are thought to be constipated in general.

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

I would be happy to assist you further, if you need any more information.

Thanks for using Just Answer.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

well, this is my suspicion. my parents have gotten weaker in the nursing home. my dad has pretty much lost the use of his legs. so, staff has had to use a mechanical lift to get him on the toilet. my mom needs to be wheel chaired and assisted on the toilet. staff has required them to wear diapers. i suspect they give them stool softners so, they eliminate in the diaper and therefore it's easier for staff to take care of their bowel movements. what is your opinion. thanks, j

You are very welcome, John.

Your suspicion can be correct. Nursing home care is tedious and staff may occasionally apply slight variation in the standard of protocol for the ease of care. You may ask them, specific indication for the use of stool softener.

It is privilege assisting you.
Dr. Arun Phophalia and 2 other Health Specialists are ready to help you