A website developed by researchers at UCL and the University of Southampton will allow urinary incontinence sufferers to share experiences and advice on products for the condition.
The Continence Product Advisor ( http://www.continenceproductadvisor.org/ ) was developed by nurses and scientists at UCL and University of Southampton, led by Professor Alan Cottenden of UCL Engineering and Professor Mandy Fader of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton with web support from the International Continence Society. Building on their experience with patients and with the design of incontinence products, it’s hoped that users of the website will give researchers the information they need to develop better solutions, as well as sharing their advice and experiences with each other.
Incontinence is a problem for around 10% of women and 5% of men in the general population in the Western world, and much higher proportions in elderly and nursing home groups. Often, the condition can be cured completely, but for a significant proportion of patients the focus is on managing it in the best way possible.
For this, many people rely on products like absorbent pads and hand-held urinals. Thousands of different products are available, but evidence on their usefulness is hard to find. Very few of them have undergone clinical trials, since the designs are updated frequently and tests are expensive, and information is often not accessible to everyday users. To overcome this, the Continence Product Advisor collects together evidence and information on the generic properties of each type of product, which is relevant no matter what small modifications have been made to the product recently or for use in a different country. The information is written and reviewed by continence healthcare professionals and users of continence products.
Alan Cottenden, Professor of Incontinence Technology at UCL Medical Physics & Bioengineering, is the UCL lead on the project. He says:
“We have written primarily for people with incontinence and their informal caregivers but also bearing in mind health care professionals, the continence product industry, and researchers like ourselves. We are proud of our “top tips” feature, where we invite those who use incontinence management products to share their tips on how to select and use products effectively. Ideas like bringing a head-torch camping to help catheterise and re-using a large fabric conditioner bottle as a male urinal for long journeys are great innovative solutions. Our dream for the future is to draw on the combined wisdom and experience of our website users to produce better quality research – and cheaper! – than we currently can.”
The team will be holding a number of focus groups, funded by Beacon Bursaries from the UCL Public Engagement Unit, where users can feed back on the website and also share more tips. Participants interested in taking part can contact Margaret Macaulay (nurse) on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7288 3178 (messages left on the answerphone will be picked up).
Professor Alan Cottenden is available for media comment. +44 (0)20 7288 5670 email@example.com
Alternatively, contact Kate Oliver, Communications Manager for UCL Engineering, 020 3108 4085, firstname.lastname@example.org