This week marks World Continence Week, in recognition of a condition experienced by more than five million Australians.
Leading in-home care specialist Silverchain delivers the Continence Management and Advisory Service (CMAS), which is funded by the Western Australian Government. The service assists more than 7000 clients and provides 1100 hours of service across metropolitan and regional Western Australia through the provision of specialised care and advice.
Clinical Nurse Manager Allison Caddy, who leads the expert team, said continence was an important health condition to talk about because it affected so many people.
“Incontinence affects around five million Australians – that is one in four people over the age of 15,” Ms Caddy said.
“While 80% of those experiencing bladder or bowel incontinence are women, there are still many men affected by incontinence.”
Risk factors for incontinence include gender (women are more likely to develop incontinence due to pregnancy, childbirth and menopause), ageing, being overweight, smoking, family history and some neurological diseases.
Ms Caddy said her team took a holistic approach with clients, with the aim to restore quality of life.
“Incontinence can have a huge impact on someone’s quality of life – it can be socially and physically isolating. I have come across people who have been housebound because of their incontinence,” Ms Caddy said.
“The team conducts a comprehensive nursing assessment with a focus on improving bladder and bowel symptoms. This includes looking at a person’s overall health, their medical history, their current medications – the greater picture. We use that information, along with their bladder and bowel symptoms, to tailor a management plan for them, with the aim of regaining their confidence.
“We help clients apply for the Continence Management and Support Scheme, which provides funds for continence products if they are required.
"We want to reassure anyone experiencing incontinence that there are so many people out there who have similar experiences, that you're not on your own, and that we are here to help."
For more information about CMAS click here.