3 April 2020

NARI’s new Director of Aged Care, Dr Joan Ostaszkiewicz, is reframing continence care to place dignity at its centre.

Dr Ostaszkiewicz, who joined NARI in February, has clinical and research expertise in the nursing care of frail older people with continence care needs, and strong collaborative relationships with several international research groups.

She is the only nurse in Australia undertaking aged care continence research and there is immense interest globally in her work.

Dr Ostaszkiewicz says, “As one of the first continence nurses to work in the community, I was staggered by the number of people suffering and concealing continence issues because of shame and stigma.”

Her most recent research resulted in a new paradigm for the management of incontinence among care-dependent residents of aged care homes, termed the Dignity of Continence Care Framework.  In 2018 she was awarded a Translating Research into Practice Fellowship from the Medical Future Fund Next Generation Clinical Researchers Program to trial an intervention based on the framework.

She is one of six researchers to be admitted first into the International Continence Society’s (ICS) worldwide Hall of Fame, which recognises researchers and clinicians who have shaped the treatment of incontinence and pelvic floor disorders over the past 50+ years.

Dr Ostaszkiewicz’s expertise has been sought by the International Consultation on Incontinence, and the Royal Commission into Quality and Safety in Aged Care.

She says she has joined NARI to work collaboratively with people who make a difference, and to build on work she’s done to improve care of people in residential aged care.