Continence care pilot underway ahead of national rollout

The Continence Foundation of Australia has received government funding to roll out an evidence-based best-practice program of continence care.

The Continence Foundation of Australia has received Commonwealth Government funding of $3.3 million over two years to implement its solution for dignified continence care within aged care settings.

Based on a model developed by the National Ageing Research Institute, the program – Continence SMART Care – is being piloted at two Melbourne-based aged care sites for two months in a “very targeted, controlled environment,” said Continence Foundation of Australia chief executive officer Rowan Cockerell.

“It’s a program to deliver on evidence-based care so that we can inform and influence the type of continence care that’s being delivered in residential aged care,” Ms Cockerell told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Once the pilot is completed the program will be reviewed, she said. “We’ll get feedback from all levels of the organisation including residents themselves, carers and RNs. Then we will move to the next stage of making it more available.”

Over the next two years, it’s hoped thousands of facilities will engage with and implement the Continence SMART Care program – both major providers and smaller, independent operators.

Providers are already expressing a keenness to participate, said Ms Cockerell. “We have multiple aged care providers approaching us now saying they want to be involved and they want to engage Continence SMART Care, so the interest is very high – we know the need is absolutely there.”

Rowan Cockerell

One of the aims of the Continence SMART Care program is to ensure that people’s individual care needs are being met, explained Ms Cockerell.

“It’s about listening to the resident and finding out how they would like to be toileted, what products they’d like to use so that they’re actually influencing how their care will be provided while they’re in residential care.”

It’s making sure “the individual is at the centre of that discussion,” she added.

“We’re trying to influence people to think about how they’re delivering their care.”

The aged care workforce is largely untrained in providing safe and effective continence care and continence management and the disparity between current clinical practice and best practice in continence care needs to be addressed, said Ms Cockerell.

The Continence Foundation of Australia intends to address that disparity by translating the NARI research led by Dr Joan Ostaszkiewicz into accessible educational materials.

“We’re providing resources for personal carers. We’re providing resources to the middle management [and] the RNs. But also providing information to support governance so that boards of organisations know what their responsibilities are.”

Most importantly, resources will be available to consumers and their families, said Ms Cockerell, “so that they can ask all the right questions” so as to ensure the facility is able to provide the appropriate care for the person being admitted.

It’s hoped the Continence SMART Care program will bring about real behavioural change in people delivering continence care in residential aged care homes, said Ms Cockerell. “We’re trying to influence people to think about how they’re delivering their care.”

The Continence Foundation of Australia is encouraging people to sign up to stay informed. To register your interest or to find out more about Continence SMART Care head to

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Tags: continence, continence foundation of australia, continence smart care, featured, Joan Ostaszkiewicz, rowan-cockerall,

1 thought on “Continence care pilot underway ahead of national rollout

  1. Brilliant!
    Now all we need are dedicated and engaged care staff who will actually think about how they deliver care…and plenty of them so they can manage everyone’s personal preferences.
    The Continence Foundation states that the best continence care requires time and resources.
    It’ll be difficult to kill the ‘pad-round’ without first addressing workload and workflow.

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