A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has shown that severe incontinence can have a substantial impact on the wellbeing, social and workforce participation and relationships of sufferers.
Updating expenditure estimates and impact details, the report – Incontinence in Australia shows that 316,500 people, about 1.5% of the Australian population, experienced severe incontinence in 2008-09, at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion.
“Severe incontinence refers to instances where people always or sometimes need help with controlling bladder or bowel functions and/ or using continence aids. Milder forms of incontinence are harder to define and quantify,” AIHW spokesperson Dr Pamela Kinnear said.
Residential care accounted for the largest portion of the expenditure, approximately $1.3 billion, not surprising with nearly 25 per cent of people aged 85 and over and 7 per cent of people aged 65 and over experienced severe incontinence.
This was followed by hospitals ($145.5 million), the Stoma Appliance Scheme ($67.6 million) and the Continence Aids Payments Scheme ($31.6 million).
The report also revealed details about carers of sufferers of incontinence, revealing that out of 72,900 carers of someone with incontinence 81 per cent were women.
“Primary carers who assist people with severe incontinence are more likely to report strained relationships with those they care for, to need more respite care, and to report lower labour force participation,’ Kinnear said.
“This could be due to the intensive nature of managing severe incontinence, as well as the fact that most people with severe incontinence had significant core activity limitation.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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