Thu 25, Feb 2021


Open letter from the Continence Foundation of Australia

Dear Senator Colbeck,

I write to you to share the Continence Foundation of Australia’s vision that a Morrison government will focus on continence and improve the quality of life for all senior Australians into the future.

Australians, many with family, friends or who themselves live in aged care, have been concerned by reports of unsafe and ineffective continence care highlighted in both the media and Royal Commission reports.

In 2010, over 128,000 residents (71 per cent) in aged care facilities were living with urinary or faecal incontinence, or both. It continues to be highly prevalent within aged care, with 2019 research showing 75 to 81 per cent of people in residential aged care facilities live with incontinence.

Incontinence is one of the main reasons behind the decision to move from home into aged care facilities. Once admitted to aged care, people’s risk of experiencing incontinence often increases or worsens.

On behalf of the Continence Foundation of Australia, I urge you to address the immediate needs of senior Australians living with or at risk of incontinence.

The Continence Foundation of Australia is the national peak body for incontinence prevention, management, education, awareness, information, and advocacy. The Foundation exists to serve all Australians by promoting bladder and bowel health, working together with people accessing health services, professionals and other organisations.

The Foundation is confident that a new national approach on incontinence will reduce residential aged care admissions prompted by bladder and bowel health. It will also ensure Australia can meet the need of future challenges and deliver cost-savings to government and aged care.

With 6.2 million Australians set to be affected by incontinence by 2030, the Foundation’s Pre-Budget Submission calls for urgent action. Despite growing prevalence, there is currently no funding commitment or action plan for incontinence from the Australian Government beyond June 2021.

A new National Strategy on Incontinence would focus on four key areas:
• maximising national awareness
• boosting workforce capacity
• economic participation, and
• ongoing research.

The Continence Foundation of Australia believes much more can be done to prevent and better manage incontinence. I would like to invite you to meet with us to discuss access to preventative health care and ways to improve continence care in the aged care sector. 

Yours sincerely,

A/Prof Michael Murray AO
Continence Foundation of Australia
Board Chair

Rowan Cockerell
Continence Foundation of Australia