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Incontinence a costly issue for millions of Australians

One in four Australians predicted to have incontinence by 2030, reveals a new report.

A recent report has found that almost 4.8 million Australians are living with some form of incontinence, limiting their ability to work and resulting in $34.1 billion in lost earnings.

Commissioned by the Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA) and conducted by Deloitte Access Economics, ‘The economic impact of incontinence in Australia’ has found that more than 25 percent (6.5 million) of all Australians will be dealing with some form of incontinence by 2030. This rapid escalation reflects Australia’s ageing population.

CFA president Associate Professor Michael Murray said the report highlighted one of the many challenges that people with incontinence face and reinforced the importance of continued funding into the management and prevention of this issue - particularly as we become an ageing population.

It also found the cost to the health system from incontinence would balloon from $271 million currently to $450 million by 2020 without clinical advances or policies designed to combat the projected increase.

The overall cost of incontinence stretches beyond lost productivity and the costs to hospitals, said Murray. When a cost for the hundreds of hours of informal and formal care, products and laundry costs are accounted for, the total financial cost of incontinence is estimated to be $42.9 billion, or $9,014 per person with incontinence. These costs exclude the quality of life losses experienced by those with incontinence.

Incontinence, defined as the involuntary leakage of urine or faeces, is known to increase with age, with women more susceptible than men. Over half of those who live with the condition are over 50, and 80 percent of sufferers of urinary incontinence are women1. In most cases, incontinence can be managed and in many cases, cured.

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