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Incontinence and people with dementia living at home

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People with dementia experience persistent problems with toileting and incontinence; these problems are difficult to manage, problematic for carers and one factor in the decision to move to a care home. There is little clinical guidance for primary care professionals tailored to this population. Professor Vari Drennan  led a series of studies, called ‘EVIDEM-C’, as part of the National Institute of Health Research funded programme, ‘Changing practice in dementia care in the community: developing and testing evidence-based interventions, from timely diagnosis to end of life (EVIDEM)’.  The EVIDEM programme was led by Professor Steve Iliffe of University College London, and involved collaborating academics from Kings College London, Imperial College London, London School of Economics and University of Hertfordshire, as well as people with dementia and their family carers.

The EVIDEM-C series of studies investigated:

(1) the incidence of the problems for people with dementia living in their own homes;

(2) the published evidence for management;

(3) the experience, and;

(4) the strategies and issues faced by people with dementia, their carers and the professionals trying to support them.

The studies also examined the feasibility of testing different designs of continence pads and tools to aid primary care nurses in tailoring their advice, management and support.

This series of studies suggests there are strategies and responses that primary care professionals and others can utilise to encourage greater openness, and thereby lessen the taboo of incontinence within the stigma of dementia. You can read the full report here.

Vari can be contacted for further information via email: v.drennan@sgul.kingston.ac.uk