The Dementia Innovation Hub in partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMECHE) recently launched a Dementia and Continence network, bringing together academics, researchers, practitioners, clinicians, carers and people living with dementia to develop solutions to hugely challenging issues faced by people living with dementia and continence. We explored the challenges of these combined conditions, and considered the effectiveness of existing products and services from a consumer perspective. Delegates heard about on-going innovative research and development that could transform continence management and care in the future, such as devices worn by female fighter pilots when in the air, which may be suitable for alteration for people living with continence.
We focused on what the specific challenges are facing people living with dementia and their carers. These include situational incontinence – not recognising or finding the way to the toilet, contrast problems which make seeing the toilet seat difficult, problems undressing in time, and poor mobility which means a person often gets to the toilet too late. There is also impaired higher control problems associated with dementia, such as not being aware or recognising the urge to go, or not understanding the social etiquette surrounding these bodily functions.
Professor Alan Cottenden, University College London, told us about a valuable website which provides evidence-based information to help people living with the condition and their carers find products that are suitable for their circumstances. The site is interactive, so users of the products can leave feedback, and give tips to people in similar situations about what works for them.
If you wish to get involved in the Dementia and Continence network, contact us at the Dementia Innovation Hub, firstname.lastname@example.org