• Led by NHS Lanarkshire Health Board, in partnership with NHS National Procurement and with wide health and social care stakeholder involvement.
  • To be implemented in two care homes in NHS Lanarkshire.
  • Aiming to improve continence among care home residents and reduce containment product usage.
  • Involves developing and testing a continence care bundle that includes continence promotion measures, and supporting care home staff to implement it.

The ageing population is associated with a rising prevalence of incontinence. Urinary and faecal incontinence affects 50–80% of care home residents. The Care Inspectorate in NHS Scotland reported in 2014 that 50% of care homes in Scotland report incontinence prevalence rates of above the national average of 74.8%. There is also increasing demand for continence products throughout Scotland, with around £13 million a year spent on these products.

Research and national guidelines highlight that interventions to promote continence, such as the use of screening and assessment tools that focus on optimal fluids and nutrition, reduction of caffeinated products and toilet assistance, not only support continence rehabilitation in older people but also reduce containment product usage.

This project led by NHS Lanarkshire will pilot the development and implementation of a continence care bundle. This will include continence promotion methods and aims to enable staff to improve the quality of continence care.

The initiative will be implemented in two care homes in NHS Lanarkshire, where the number of care home residents can range from 20 to 100. Care home staff will be supported through education sessions prior to implementation of the bundle, and through ongoing support from the project team.

The primary aim of the project is to reduce the use of high absorbency continence containment products by 25% within 12 months. The project team will also audit continence care and the prevalence of associated harm such as pressure damage, urinary tract infections and falls, and evaluate staff and carer experience of the improvement project.

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