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Man heading towards a toilet

Caring for someone with incontinence

Caring for someone with continence problems can mean finding out how to anticipate and manage certain situations. Incontinence is the term used to describe loss of control of the bladder or bowel, or both. Being in control of these functions depends on being aware of bodily sensations such as the feeling of having a full bladder and the memory of how, when and where to respond.

If you're caring for someone with continence problems, you're not alone. There are a number of services, resources and support to help you in your caring role.

What resources and support are available?

National Continence Helpline

The National Continence Helpline is staffed by qualified continence nurse advisers who can give you prompt, confidential and expert advice. Anyone from health professionals to members of the public can call them. Helpline staff can give you information about continence products, national and state government continence subsidy schemes and arrange for continence information resources to be sent to you.

Phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 between 8.00am to 8.00pm EST, Monday to Friday. It is closed on national public holidays. Outside of these hours, please contact the After Hours GP Helpline on 1800 022 222.

Bladder and Bowel website

The Australian Government's Bladder Bowel website promotes bladder and bowel health. It also provides information to people affected by incontinence, their families and carers, as well as to health professionals, service providers and researchers on the prevention, management and treatment of bladder and bowel problems.

Continence Aids Payment Scheme

The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) provides a payment to assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of their incontinence products. The payment is made by Medicare directly into a client's nominated bank account. Find out more about CAPS on the Bladder and Bowel website.

National Public Toilet Map website

The National Public Toilet Map website provides information on the location of public and private toilet facilities across Australia. Details of toilet facilities can be found along major travel routes and also for shorter journeys. There is information about each toilet such as location, opening hours, accessibility for people with disabilities and the details of other nearby toilets. The map can assist carers to plan short outings or longer trips.

Support for you

When you spend most of your time looking after other people it's easy to forget to look after yourself too. It is very important to take time to look after yourself, to help you stay fit, healthy and relaxed. Here are some tips to help you take care of your own health and wellbeing. There are also counselling and other support services available to help you.

Last reviewed: 30 June, 2015.