Research improves independence for people with brain injuries and reduces cost of care

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Research improves independence for people with brain injuries and reduces cost of care

17 October 2019

  • Management of continence can be improved for people with brain injuries
  • Costs for continence care and equipment reduced by research study
  • Findings to inform continence management practices across the sector

The State's insurer, the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, has released today the results of its research with the Brightwater Care Group, to improve the independence and reduce the cost of care for people with an acquired brain injury.

The 18-month research project trialled assistive toileting technologies, devices and continence management practices.

The research demonstrated that the use of assistive devices, along with comprehensive continence assessment and a tailored management plan, can increase independence, and reduce intervention from carers to support a person with an acquired brain injury.

Specifically, the research outcomes were:

  • increased independence in cognitive and functional tasks associated with toileting;
  • reduced toileting care hours on average by 4.3 hours per client per week; and
  • reduced toileting consumable costs on average by $10 per client a day.

The research is a positive outcome for people involved in the research project with acquired brain injuries.

The project identified opportunities for enhancement of continence management in the health and disability sector, including recommendations to:

  • Adopt a client-centred approach to continence care;
  • Review current continence policies and procedures against clinical practice guidelines;
  • Ensure standardised clinical documentation to enable the effective exchange of information between staff and to ensure continuity of care;
  • Improve continence management role clarity and understanding;
  • Promote a multidisciplinary approach; and
  • Increase staff education and training.

The research reports are available via the links below, so continence and care practices can be enhanced across the sector. A community workshop to explain the results of the research was hosted at National Disability Services WA on 29 October.

Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:

"The Insurance Commission spends millions each year on care and equipment for people injured in vehicle crashes across both its motor injury insurance schemes, and for people injured in workplace accidents.

"I congratulate both the Insurance Commission and Brightwater on demonstrating that assistive devices and management practices can improve the independence of people with acquired brain injuries, and reduce the cost of care at the same time.

"It is encouraging to see the results of the research being shared with the community in an effort to improve results and care practices across the sector."

Continence research reports

The full report and shorter community report (PDF format) can be downloaded via the links below:

Continence and brain injury - full report - May 2019

Continence and brain injury - community report - July 2019

Clinical documents

Brightwater Care Group's Continence Screening and Continence Assessment forms (PDF format) can be downloaded via the links below:

Brightwater Continence Screening form

Brightwater Continence Assessment form

Page Last Updated 29 Oct 2019

Media contact

Gavin Hill-Smith
Communications Officer
+61 8 9264 3227