Continence is the ability to control bladder and bowel function. Incontinence describes any accidental or involuntary:
- loss of urine from the bladder
- bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel.
Incontinence can range in severity from 'just a small leak' to complete loss of bladder or bowel control. It can be treated, managed, and in some cases cured, so it's important to talk to a doctor or qualified health professional.
Where to get continence support
Continence Resource Centre
The Continence Resource Centre (CRC) is a free statewide continence information and advisory service located at the Independent Living Centre.
Services include a product display of toileting equipment, products and adaptive clothing.
- phone 8266 5260 or 1300 885 886 (South Australian and Northern Territory callers only)
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- visit 11 Blacks Road, Gilles Plains, South Australia.
National Continence Helpline
The National Continence Helpline is a free, confidential telephone advisory service staffed by continence nurse advisors.
- Phone 1800 33 00 66 (8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday, Australian Eastern Standard Time).
Continence Foundation of Australia
The Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA) is the national peak body promoting bladder and bowel health. The Foundation has information on incontinence, continence funding, travel tips, carer support and referrals.
Bladder Bowel website
The Australian Government Bladder and Bowel website describes ways to prevent and manage bladder and bowel problems.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
People with disability who meet NDIS requirements may be eligible for funding for continence products through NDIS.
- Phone 1800 800 110
- visit the NDIS website
Easier toileting at home
Sometimes people have difficulty using the toilet. Equipment that may help includes toilet seat raisers, grab rails, commodes and urinals.
There are many personal continence products available such as pads, urinary drainage bags, mattress protectors and odour control products. New solutions are being developed all the time.
Adapted clothing features easy-to-use fastenings and elasticated waistbands that make it quicker and easier to be ready to use the toilet.
Health professionals can help you find the best equipment, products and clothing for your situation.
Easier toileting when travelling
Having incontinence does not mean you have to stay at home. Portable equipment and public services can help manage incontinence when travelling.
The range of portable equipment includes disposable urinals for men and women, chemical toilets (often used for camping) and folding equipment like over-the-toilet frames and commode chairs.
Health professionals can help you find the best equipment for your situation.
Accessing public toilets
National Public Toilet Map website
The National Public Toilet Map, funded by the Australian Government, shows the location of more than 16,000 public toilets across Australia.
Access the map using:
- your computer or mobile phone with an internet browser
- the National Public Toilet Map App
- toilet locations uploaded from the map to your GPS.
Changing Places public toilets
In January 2018, the state government announced funding for eight Changing Places toilets to be built in metropolitan and country locations.
Changing Places are toilets with a height-adjustable adult-sized change table, a tracking hoist system, non-slip flooring and more space to accommodate a person using a wheelchair and up to two carers.
Two Changing Places 'Marveloo' portable toilets, will also be built. They will be used at major events across the state and should be complete by 2019.
Paying for continence products
Continence Aids Payment Scheme
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) helps eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of continence products.
To get a payment under the CAPS scheme, you must:
- be 5 years or older
- have permanent and severe bladder or bowel incontinence
- have an eligible condition, and
- hold a Pensioner Concession Card from the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme website has detailed information on the scheme.
Toilet training children and young people
Children and young people with disability may take longer to achieve bladder and bowel control.
Child and Youth Services has resources on toileting and toilet training.
Child and Youth Health has information on signs of readiness in your child and approaches to toilet training.