Safe and effective continence assessment and care is an integral part of helping people maintain their dignity and independence. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Over 5 million Australians are affected by incontinence, affecting both men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
Continence can be a confronting conversation to have with a loved one as often there are feelings of being ashamed, not wanting to talk about it. Unfortunately, many older Australian’s suffer in silence as they do not have the confidence to speak to someone to get the help they need.
Incontinence is the term used to describe the loss of control of your bladder or bowel, or both. Being aware of bodily sensations such as feelings of having a full bladder, or memory of how, when, and where to respond is one of the first ways to regain control. Many people feel too embarrassed to discuss incontinence, but it is important to know that you are not alone and that it can be managed, treated and in many cases cured.
Basic bladder and bowel health
Keeping your bladder and bowel as healthy as possible is the best way to avoid accidents. The best way to do this is:
- Drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day
- Eat a fibre-rich diet
- Exercise daily
- Include pelvic floor exercises
- Establish a regular bowel-emptying routine
- Scheduled toilet trips
- Get the nursing and homecare support you need
- Lose weight if overweight or obese
- Avoiding certain foods and drinks (alcohol, caffeine, foods high in acid- tomatoes spicy food).
- Urinary incontinence is not always related to an underlying condition. It may be caused by:
- Stress incontinence: Leakage when sneezing, exercising, or coughing
- Side effects of medications
- Certain foods
- Weakened pelvic floor muscles
- Severe constipation
- Changes in the body from surgery
See a doctor or speak with your Sapphire Living team if
- Incontinence is too frequent or is affecting the quality of life
- It restricts your activities and social interactions
- Urine leakage occurs during sleep
See a doctor immediately if you notice:
- Severe pain while passing urine
- Weakness in the legs or loss of sensation in the legs or around the genitals or anus
- Trouble speaking or walking
- Weakness or tingling in any part of your body
- Loss of vision
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of bowel control
The Sapphire Living team want people to talk about incontinence
At Sapphire Living we are tackling the challenges surrounding incontinence by being the voice of our clients. Regardless of if you are a client of ours, we want everyone to proactively ask your loved ones if they need support with incontinence before it becomes an issue.
We know that steps taken today can reduce the impact of incontinence and we want to create a safe and friendly environment for loved ones to be able to have the initiative-taking conversation. We know this can be confronting but consider the impact if you do not talk to your loved one about it. If you need advice, our friendly team have over 75 years experience in dealing with these types of conversations with older Australians throughout Queensland.
Where else can I get support?
Your local GP may organise for a continence nurse specialist to come out and do a Continence assessment.
There are many diverse types of incontinence, so treatment and management plans can be quite different. A continence assessment is done to find out the type of incontinence a person is experiencing. It helps the health care professional to write a personalised treatment and management plan for the person.
As part of a continence assessment, you may need to provide a record of the continence management issues experienced by the person you support. This can be done by completing a diary or a bowel diary as part of the person’s assessment. The health care professional may also ask for a copy of the person’s medicines.
There is also a number of websites, support groups and people in the community to whom you can talk.
National continence helpline 1800330066, www.continence.org.au
Let Sapphire Living help you today
With the right care and support from our friendly nurses and personal care team, we can help you take charge of your continence care in the comfort and security of your own home.
We are just a phone call away for any further tips or advice you may need. We also recommend a number of our own experts and a local support network to continue to ensure you feel comfortable, safe, and happy at home.