Incontinence can be described as the involuntary loss of urine from the bladder or faeces/wind from the bowel i.e. urinary and faecal incontinence respectively. There are a number of reasons that can lead to incontinence. According to the Continence Foundation of Australia risk factors for urinary incontinence may include pregnancy, urinary tract infections, constipation, obesity , menopause, surgery, reduced mobility, neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, some medications and/ or health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, respiratory and heart problems or prostrate problems. Further to this, risk factors for faecal incontinence may include urinary incontinence, chronic diarrohea and dementia.
Incontinence can be managed effectively by strategies such as:
- Regular health check ups
- Altering diet and fluids
- Effective toileting
- Using continence management aids and cleaning products
- Planning in advance for social outings
- Person centred strategies by liaising with a continence health professional
- Conducting a continence assessment
- Evaluating the person’s environment , for example, rearrange the furniture to ensure the route to the toilet is short and visible
A continence management plan should take into account the person’s medical history, food and fluid consumption, mobility, hormonal balance, bladder function and bowel health (Bostock, 2019).
When caring for someone with incontinence it is integral for care workers to follow the continence management plan. Care workers will be engaged in skin care, applying and managing continence aids, implementing effective toileting regimes for the client, ensure access to mobility aids / toilets and maintaining ongoing hygiene.
Individuals and their carers can access continence nurse advisors through the National Continence Helpline on 1800330066 to gain practical information on resources and continence services.
Care workers can enhance their skills and knowledge in relation to continence management by accessing various resources including:
Caring for someone with incontinence (my aged care)
Continence Foundation of Australia https://www.continence.org.au/pages/management.html
Bostock, N. 2019, ‘Management of Urinary Incontinence in the Community’, Ausmed, 29 July, viewed 13 August 2019, https://www.ausmed.com/cpd/courses/urinary-incontinence.