National Continence Helpline Manager SUE BLINMAN answers some frequently asked continence questions.

Q: Jack is a 92-year old man who reported he was having a very poor urine stream to the point of not passing urine for many hours at a time. Jack’s son asked what could he do for his dad?

A: Jack definitely needs to go to see his local doctor immediately. Don’t be like Jack who ignored his poor bladder habits for many years as he stated to his son. His son took him to the local doctor immediately after hearing of his problem, and the GP transferred him to hospital for an emergency catheter insertion. They found Jack had over four litres in his bladder and Jack ended up with permanent kidney damage. All bladder and bowel problems should be discussed with your local doctor to assess whether your kidneys are at risk of permanent damage.

Q: Rose is a 24-year-old woman and was having trouble with her bowels with persistent diarrhoea. She works in a job where it’s not easy to go to the toilet. When she gets the diarrhoea she uses Gastrostop so she can work. Then she gets blocked up again. She asked for our help.

A: Having an alternating bowel pattern is not healthy for you and you need to be assessed by your local doctor as soon as possible. It may be that in fact you are actually constipated and the diarrhoea is overflow from severe constipation in the large bowel. Rose reported later that she went to her local doctor and had a plain bowel x-ray that showed she was very constipated. Rose was treated with laxatives for several days which she said has now helped her to become more regular.

Q: I work in a supported accommodation in Victoria, caring for a 35-year-old male with severe disabilities. He is requiring continence pull ups daily, related to adverse behaviours. We have worked with both the psychologist and occupational therapist with no change in his behaviour. Is he eligible for any financial assistance?

A: This young man is eligible for funding as his adverse behaviours have failed treatment and his incontinence will probably not improve. He can apply for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) and the Victorian State Wide Equipment Program (SWEP).

To access the CAPS scheme you can download the forms at www.bladderbowel.gov.au . The SWEP program requires a Continence Nurse Advisor assessment and subsequent prescription. This program only provides washable products and urinary catheters. When your client goes over to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) ensure these products and the Continence Nurse Advisor yearly assessment are added into the plan, as all federal and state funding will roll over into the NDIS plan. For more information on NDIS please go to www.ndis.gov.au.