AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Public Interest Disclosure Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsOnline reportsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Chronic disease indicators Data sources for monitoring health conditionsDeaths Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Height and weight data sources Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity
Mental health National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National indicator catalogue Perinatal data Risk factors statistics Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee AODTS NMDS WG CKDMAC CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
Severe incontinence affects over 315,000 people in Australia, and the associated care and costs can be substantial, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
'Severe incontinence' means always or sometimes needing help with managing bladder or bowel control and/or using continence aids.
The report, Incontinence in Australia: prevalence, experience and cost, uses 2009 data and shows that two thirds of people experiencing incontinence are female (66%).
A smaller, but still substantial number of about 144,000 people always needed help or supervision with their bladder or bowel control.
'Incontinence affects people's ability to take part in education, employment and social situations,' said AIHW spokesperson Brent Diverty.
'In 2009, only one in five people aged 15-64 who always or sometimes needed assistance with bladder or bowel control were working or looking for work.'
'This was substantially lower than for those who had difficulty with bladder or bowel control but needed no assistance (42%) and those who had no difficulty at all (57%).'
There were 72,900 primary carers in 2009 who helped with another person's incontinence, along with other needs for support and assistance. Three quarters of these carers (73%) spent 40 or more hours a week actively caring or supervising, and the toll on their wellbeing was more than for carers whose support and assistance did not include help with incontinence.
'For example, 50% of primary carers helping with managing bladder or bowel control said they had a change in their physical or emotional wellbeing. Around 45% reported weariness and lacking energy, and 40% reported worry or depression. This compares with less than a third for each of these factors, for carers whose support and assistance did not include help with managing incontinence,' Mr Diverty said.
'The higher needs of people with incontinence and the greater impact on primary carers may be directly due to incontinence, or the different types and severity of disability of people who have incontinence, or both,' Mr Diverty said.
In 2008-09, health care spending for incontinence was about $202 million (not including residential aged care costs).
The largest share of this spending ($146 million, or 72%) in 2008-09 was for admitted patient hospital services. The Continence Aids Assistant Scheme and out-of-hospital medical services cost $32 million and $18 million respectively.
A more detailed report on incontinence will be released in 2013.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Canberra, 11 December 2012
Further information: Mr Brent Diverty, AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5096, mob. 0407 915 851
Full report: Incontinence in Australia: prevalence, experience and cost