Dr LakhanContinence Foundation member and Brisbane researcher, Dr Prabha Lakhan, has received an Australian Bladder Foundation grant to conduct the study: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women attending an Indigenous primary healthcare clinic and their experiences of management of urinary incontinence.    

The extent of urinary incontinence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is largely unknown. With this new research, Dr Lakhan hopes to address the gap in knowledge of the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

The proposed research was presented to the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Jury for Health Research, which comprises of members of the community who assess and approve the research based on its potential benefits and relevance.

The study will invite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are experiencing urinary incontinence, and are aged 40 years or older, to describe their experiences of managing incontinence. Suggestions for better management of urinary incontinence at the primary healthcare clinic will also be considered to improve patient care.  

Dr Lakhan hopes that the study will produce positive change for the Indigenous female population.

“We’d like to help GPs find ways to manage it better in a safe and culturally appropriate environment, as well as to enable them to talk about it with patients,” Dr Lakhan said.

Dr Lakhan said that the initial presentation to the Community Jury kickstarted a conversation about incontinence.

“The presentation helped increase awareness of incontinence as ‘not a normal’ part of ageing and childbirth and challenged the myth that nothing could be done about it,” Dr Lakhan said.

Dr Lakhan has worked in research for the last 20 years, spanning many topics including health literacy, hepatitis C and prevalence of visual impairment.

She started her career as a secondary school teacher, then became a Registered Nurse and now works as a Senior Researcher at the Primary Health Care Clinic where this study will be conducted.

Findings from the study will be available in 2020.

The Australian Government, together with the Continence Foundation of Australia, provides a range of information resources designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They can be viewed online at continence.org.au or by calling the National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66 to request brochures.