The 5th Global Forum on Incontinence (GFI) ‘Better care, better health - towards a framework for better continence solutions’ took place in Madrid on 8-9th April 2014. The Forum was organised by SCA in partnership with the International Continence Society (ICS) and with the endorsement of numerous partners.
Over 300 participants from more than 30 countries came together to learn more about the burden of incontinence on patients and society in today’s socio-economic context, and to discuss a future framework for patient-centred, high quality and sustainable continence care.
Adrian Wagg, Co-Chair of the GFI and General Secretary Elect of ICS, delivered a presentation on the complexity of incontinence in older people. Although not an inevitable consequence of later life, incontinence is more common and more severe in older people. It is associated with many other diseases including Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart failure, stroke, and dementia and has significant consequences on an older person’s health and well-being. However, he continued, “incontinence in older people is not a priority and resources are limited in a day and age where we are hoping older people are going to be more economically productive in life”. He concluded: “we have a burden on ourselves to act as advocates for older people and for frail older people with incontinence problems.”
The 5th edition of the GFI saw a lively debate over two days with a number of key learnings, conclusions and recommendations that emerged from the sessions and discussions.
Summarising the event, GFI Co-Chair Adrian Wagg highlighted the following outcomes:
The session’s presentations helped provide a better understanding of:
- The prevalence of incontinence with approximately 400 million people living with incontinence
- The socio-demographic context of incontinence with regard to a rapidly ageing world population and rising demands for long term care;
- The stigma of incontinence with many patients and carers suffering in silence;
- The emotional and physical burden on the patient and carer impacting a person’s emotional well-being and professional, social and family life;
- The negative financial and economic impact on the individual and society presenting a
- significant economic cost to countries with the example of Australia;
- The complexities of incontinence in the elderly and the need for better integrated health
- and social care services;
- The four patient profiles (urinary, neurological, elderly/cognitively impaired and faecal)
- and the treatment and management options for each;
The GFI also saw best practice examples of good continence care in Sweden, Italy and Australia where incontinence and better continence care are a priority on the health and social policy agenda.
Finally, the GFI saw the launch of the Optimum Continence Service Specification providing policy makers and health managers with concrete guidance in organising the best possible care for people with incontinence, with continence nurse specialists in the lead where possible. A better organization of care can facilitate the improvement of quality of life and at the same time save costs for society.
For more information on this event and the outcomes identified, please click here.