A new free online training program aims to improve the quality of care of people living with dementia who experience continence difficulties.
Developed by the National Ageing Research Institute with the input of people living with dementia and health professionals and launched this month, the course – Caregiving, Dementia and Incontinence – offers free training for both care workers and family carers.
“It was incredibly important to us that this training was created with, and informed by, those with lived experience of the issue,” said NARI director of aged care research Professor Joan Ostaszkiewicz. “By having their experiences at the centre of this course, we can provide training that ensures wrap-around approach – not just dealing with the physical difficulties, but also the psychological aspect.”
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 70 per cent of aged care residents living with dementia experience difficulties with bladder or bowel function and control, 90 per cent of whom require assistance to manage the incontinence. These issues significantly impact the quality of life for both the individual and the carer, said Professor Ostaszkiewicz.
“People with dementia who experience incontinence deserve care that treats them with dignity and respect, and that requires having supports available to inform carers,” she said.
Funded by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration through the Queensland University of Technology, the course provides participants with the knowledge, skills and resources to help them promote continence and manage incontinence.
Over five weeks, the course covers the following topics:
- coping with the lived experience
- basics of bowel and bladder function
- promoting healthy bowel and bladder function and assisting with toileting and hygiene
- using continence aids and incontinence products and protecting the skin
- coping at home, out and about and accessing information and support.
“Training is not always accessible to carers, so by making this course available freely online we hope to equip as many cares as possible with an in-depth understanding of the condition, and the necessary skills to help those who need this support,” said Professor Ostaszkiewicz.
Running twice in 2022, the first course has begun and will close on 3 October 2022. “We have had 254 people participate in the online course so far – which is great as it’s only been open for two weeks,” Professor Ostaszkiewicz told Australian Ageing Agenda.
The second course begins on 17 October and closes on the 19 December 2022. Learners may dip in to the course at any time during their runs.