People experiencing continence issues may have difficulty managing their continence, particularly outside the home, or feel embarrassed by their condition. They may feel reluctant to seek help due to social stigma. This can cause them to restrict their activity, increasing their risk of experiencing social isolation.1 We can help patients make a smooth transition from the hospital to their home or care facility by finding out what they understand about their condition, acknowledging their concerns, demonstrating sensitivity and developing a care plan that addresses the person’s ongoing continence management needs:2
- Do they need a referral to a continence clinic?
- Should their GP be advised of continence issues identified in hospital?
- Do they need written materials and resources to help manage continence? Refer to Continence Foundation of Australia website.
- Are they eligible for government funding support for the cost of continence aids?
- Do they need referrals for aids and specialist services?
- Would they benefit from a continence nurse follow up phone call or assessment in the community?
- Would they benefit from a referral to a dietitian for advice on maintain healthy bowels?
- Where is the person going after discharge – their own home, supported accommodation (with or without stand-up staff overnight) or residential care?
- If the person is going home, will they be alone or have help? Do they have a carer who can assist them?
- Can they afford the cost of aperients (mild laxatives) and continence appliances?
- Are they eligible for an aids assistance scheme, for example, from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Continence Aids Assistance Scheme or the Department of Health and Human Services’ Aids and Equipment Program?
Your organisation can develop a discharge kit that includes resources and contact details specific to your local area.
1 Heintz, P.A., C.M. DeMucha, M.M. Deguzman, R. Softa, Stigmas and microagression experienced by older women with urinary incontinence: A literature review. Urologic Nursing, 2013. 33: pp. 299-305.
2 Elstad, E. A., S. P. Taubenberger, E. M. Botelho, S. L. Tennstedt, Beyond incontinence: the stigma of other urinary symptoms, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2010. 66: pp. 2460-2470.
Reviewed 05 October 2015