Evaluation of the continence care and resource models project

Associate Professor Julie Byles, Professor Jill Cockburn, Dr Janice Perkins, Dr Pauline Chiarelli, Andrew Hacker, Dr Shirley Schulz, Dr Rosemary Aldrich (NIPH)

The National Continence Management Strategy is undertaking a systematic approach to continence management at a national level. This component of the strategy involved the evaluation of three demonstration projects to trial continence care and resource models. These projects were a critical part of the overall strategy to ensure that people get quality treatment and are confident to seek help.

The three projects – based in Wangaratta, Vic., Newcastle, NSW and Perth, WA - all contained two basic elements. Firstly, each project attempted to develop more coordinated primary health care for continence management. This involved the education and networking of local primary health care providers, including GPs, pharmacists, physiotherapists and nurses. Secondly, each project attempted to promote continence as a medical issue within their local community. The primary message of these promotional campaigns was that incontinence is a real medical condition (ie, not an inevitable part of ageing), and is a condition that is generally simple to treat, without invasive procedures.

The CCEB undertook a multifaceted evaluation of the three projects which involved:

  • Analysis of documentation and Quality Assurance
  • Qualitative interviews with key project staff and participating health care providers
  • A review of the design and content of public education and promotional resource materials
  • A survey of changes in the knowledge and attitudes of health care providers before and after training
  • A survey of the prevalence of incontinence and levels of help-seeking within GP’s waiting rooms
  • A survey of improvement with clients’ incontinence and their satisfaction with service
  • An audit of the National Continence Helpline
  • A tracking study, using data from the Women’s Health Australia study (Pending)