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‘Continence Matters’: Report on Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies and KT-Equal Workshop
Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies and KT-Equal 13 December, 2010
Continence difficulties are very common. Some studies show 30-60% of women over 40 will suffer some systems of urinary incontinence and about half as many men are affected. As people age their urinary system function may decline and they are more likely to suffer other diseases and conditions which affect continence. Many older people also experience limited mobility, which impacts on continence simply because people have problems getting to the toilet.

Many continence problems can be cured or ameliorated by treatment, but some treatments do not provide a complete “cure” and some are less suitable for older people. Thus many older people have difficulties in managing their continence needs. Finding the most effective treatments, the best solutions, and the most well designed continence management products, is important for the maintenance of a good quality of life for large numbers of older people.
The impact of continence difficulties is far more than the physical effort and expense of coping with the day to day management. Incontinence can be a precursor to social isolation, loss of self esteem and depression. Inability to cope with continence needs is a major reason why people move into residential care. Large numbers of older people’s lives are negatively affected by continence difficulties. Therefore, it is essential that the best practice for continence health service provisions, the design of the environment and assistive technology development is applied.

The Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies, along with KT-Equal, hosted a one day workshop focussed on the latest in continence research. The programme included some of the leading experts in the field, including Jo-Anne Bichard, Prof. Mandy Fader, Adele Long, Prof. Cath McGrother, Antonio Quadrucci, Prof. James Malone-Lee, Eleanor van den Heuvel and Felicity Jowitt. Topics covered throughout the day included the impact of urinary incontinence, toilet provision for an ageing population, continence technology and skin health, nutrition, urinary tract infections and the Enteric Healthcare Technology Co-operative projects on faecal incontinence. Importantly, KT-Equal’s extensive community of stakeholders, researchers and industrial contacts provided effective networking opportunities for attendees.
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