FAQs – Continence and COVID-19

In order to help you at this time, we are answering the most asked questions about continence products and availability. We hope this information helps you.

The National Continence Helpline is still operating five days a week. We are taking your calls to provide information, education and advice from 8am to 8pm (AEST) on 1800 33 00 66.

Clinic Availability

My local continence clinic has closed, what do I do if I need help?

Some Continence Clinics have had to close but many remain open and functioning – some even taking clients. If you have an urgent query, we recommend you contact your GP as they can resolve or refer you on to a relevant provider. The National Continence Helpline also remains open and taking your enquiries.

Medicine shortages

I read in the paper that prescription medicines are in short supply, will this affect me?

Recent media coverage of essential medicines in short supply has been generated from a review of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) page developed for the Medicine Shortages Information Initiative at https://apps.tga.gov.au/prod/MSI/search#search-msis. This page gives information about shortages of reportable medicines in Australia.

The page is designed for health professionals but can be accessed by the public. We’ve reviewed the medicines and can report that there appear to be no shortages of any of the medicines commonly prescribed to treat incontinence.

Product availability

My delivery of continence products hasn’t arrived, what should I do?

Generally, suppliers have confirmed there is stock of continence products although orders and deliveries may be behind due to the increased demand. We also know that call centres at the suppliers are very busy. If your products haven’t arrived and you are running low, contact your supplier and ask if there is a back order issue and find out a possible delivery date.

If you cannot get your products because stock has run out, please ring the National Continence Helpline for details of other suppliers. 

It is recommended that you do not over order for your needs but order enough and regularly to ensure your needs are met.

I can’t find my brand of continence pads and pants in the supermarket, what do I do?

While stocks have largely returned to supermarket shelves, some products may continue to be in short supply. You may like to try other options such as checking with local pharmacies or online.

Access our online product supplier directory or phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 for help with product and supplier advice. 

Are reusable continence pads and pants a good solution at this time?

There are many options on the market for reusable continence products with different absorbencies. These products may be an option but are not useful for some types of incontinence and it is important to seek advice before you make any purchases. 

The National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66) can talk to you about whether these products are right for you and provide supplier details if you need them. 

Catheters and hand sanitiser

Can I get catheters delivered to me at home?

Your usual supplier of catheters should have stock available. You may be experiencing wait times when calling to order and we know that there is a higher than normal demand for particular products (face masks, gloves, sanitiser etc.) at this time. If you have problems getting the equipment you need, contact your doctor, pharmacy or health professional that helps you normally, and seek their advice. 

You can also phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 for help with product and supplier advice. 

I am running out of hand sanitiser for catheterisation, what should I do?

At first there was a major shortage of hand sanitiser, but the products are now coming back into stores. If you are still unable to get it, it is worth speaking with any suppliers you have contact with and explaining your specific need, if you feel comfortable doing so. There are also a number of distillers who have come into the market making hand sanitiser – you may be able to source the product from them directly. Otherwise, speak to your doctor, pharmacist or the health professional that monitors you. 

In the absence of hand sanitiser, please follow the recommendations by the Federal Government including practising good hygiene of washing your hands. 

Caring for someone with incontinence

I care for a family member. What do I need to know?

Carers Australia has shared tips for you online. There you can find information on keeping yourself and the person you care for well, the telehealth options available, and making an emergency plan. 

How long will this all last?

The COVID-19 situation is changing every day. You can stay updated with the Federal Government’s health alert: www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert. 

The Continence Foundation of Australia is monitoring the situation and will update this FAQ with relevant news as it comes in. You can also contact the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for information about coronavirus.