Monday 1 August 2022

Media Release

The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has today launched a new training course, aimed at improving the quality of care for people living with dementia who experience difficulties with continence. The course will provide knowledge, skills and resources of the highest level to carers, allowing them to better support older people to age well.

Many people living with dementia experience difficulties with bladder or bowel function and control, and these issues significantly impact the quality of life for both the individual and their carer.

Developed with the input of those living with dementia, carers and health professionals, NARI’s ‘Massive Open Online Course: Caregiving, Dementia and Incontinence’ will deliver free online training for both family carers and community carers.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 70 per cent of aged care residents living with dementia will experience incontinence, of whom 90 per cent require assistance to manage the condition. The negative impacts of incontinence can drastically affect the quality of life of older people, increasing risk of falls and the development of painful dermatitis.

Whilst the harmful effects of incontinence on older people and those with dementia is known, NARI Director of Aged Care Research, Professor Joan Ostaszkiewicz, said there has not been enough comprehensive training available to carers.

“People with dementia who experience incontinence deserve care that treats them with dignity and respect, and that requires having supports available to inform carers,” Professor Ostaszkiewicz said.

“It was incredibly important to us that this training was created with, and informed by, those with lived-experience of the issue. 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.”

With no prior experience or qualifications required, participants will be offered knowledge, skills and resources to cope with the multi-faceted aspects of assisting with toileting, promoting continence, and managing incontinence.

The course will inform learners on:

  • Copy with the lived experience;
  • Basics of bowel and bladder function;
  • Promoting health bowel and bladder function and assisting with toileting and hygiene;
  • Using continence aids and incontinence products, and protecting the skin; and
  • 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 carers as possible with an in-depth understanding of the condition, and the necessary skills to help those who need this support,” Professor Ostaszkiewicz said.

The free course will open from the 1 August 2022 until 3 October 2022. A second run 2 will commence on 17 October and close on the 19 December 2022. 

Media enquiries:

Olivia Joyce (NARI) – 0448 129 595

Further information about the course and registration is available at Caregiving, Dementia and Incontinence: An open online course