People with dementia who experience incontinence deserve care that treats them with dignity and respect, and that requires support. Almost one third of people with a diagnosis of dementia experience difficulties with bladder or bowel function and control. These difficulties can have significant impacts on the quality of life for both the individual and their carer. Despite the prevalence and significant impact of incontinence in people with dementia and carers, there is limited information to support family carers about strategies to delay, or prevent incontinence, or about the emotional and physical aspects of everyday management. To address gaps in current evidence and support, a research team from the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) in collaboration with Deakin FutureLearn in Australia designed and disseminated a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on "Caregiving, Dementia and Incontinence".
The course tackles the physical, psychological and psychosocial aspects of caregiving associated with dementia and incontinence. Developed with the input of those living with dementia, carers and health professionals, the course delivers free online training for both family carers and community carers — and has received incredibly positive feedback from users. With no prior experience or qualifications required, participants can gain knowledge, skills and resources to assist with toileting, promote continence, and manage incontinence. The MOOC is a multimedia experience, with visual and audio learning tools, and a platform for social interaction with other carers.
The course informs learners on:
• Coping with the lived experience;
• Basics of bowel and bladder function;
• Promoting health bowel and bladder function and assisting with toileting and hygiene;
• Using continence aids and incontinence products, and protecting the skin and
• Coping at home, out and about, and accessing information and support.
In the 8 months since its release in August 2022, the MOOC has attracted more than 1,900 users across 69 countries – far exceeding initial expectations. The MOOC provides people from around the globe with access to vital information and tools to support loved ones living with dementia and incontinence.