What Is Continence Assessment?

A continence assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s bladder and bowel function. This crucial assessment helps in developing personalised strategies to manage and improve continence issues, focusing on enhancing the child’s comfort and quality of life. Typically, the assessment takes 2 hours and can be conducted in person or via Telehealth, tailored to each family’s needs. Following the initial evaluation, we coordinate with the child’s healthcare team, arrange product trials, obtain quotes, and craft a comprehensive care plan. The entire process usually requires between 5-10 hours, depending on complexity.

crying baby

Frequency of Assessments

Continence assessments are generally conducted annually to adjust care as needed or less frequently if the child’s continence management is stable. Additional reviews may be necessary if there are significant changes in the child’s bladder or bowel function.

What happens during a continence assessment?

During the assessment, we engage with both the child and family to identify specific concerns and potential areas for improvement. We review the child’s medical and surgical history, medications, mobility, use of aids and appliances, and skin care routines. We also consider any behavioural, communication, cognitive, psychosocial, or sensory factors that might affect continence. A detailed bladder and bowel diary might also be requested to gain insights into the frequency, urgency, and triggers of incontinence.

After the assessment, further diagnostic tests such as bladder ultrasounds, abdominal X-rays, or urine tests may be recommended, with all investigations coordinated with the child’s broader medical team to ensure comprehensive care.

Who conducts the assessment?

At Thriving Families, the assessment is conducted by Amanda Carmody, a Paediatric Clinical Nurse Continence Specialist with extensive training and experience in continence management and child development. Amanda’s expertise is complemented by her qualifications in nursing, midwifery and child health, making her uniquely equipped to support children and their families.

Parent and Child Education

Amanda will provide tailored education to both parents and children, depending on the child’s age and comprehension level. Communication is always done at an age-appropriate level to help children and families understand how the body works, discussing normal bladder and bowel functions, strategies for home management, and developmental skills to improve continence.

Follow-Up Support

Thriving Families offers ongoing follow-up support after the initial assessment and subsequent interventions. Families wishing to engage in continued therapy to work toward their continence goals can benefit from regular check-ins, adjustments to care plans, and coordination with other medical and allied health professionals to achieve the best possible outcomes for their child.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

Families do not need a referral to see Amanda. She is able to collaborate with your existing health care team. Working with occupational therapists, physiotherapists, paediatricians, and dieticians to formulate the best plan forward for children. Our services are accessible to families with diverse needs, including considerations for language barriers, cultural sensitivities, and physical accessibility if assessments are conducted in person.

Black and white image of Amanda Carmody - Director of Thriving Families

Professional Credentials and Affiliations

As a member of the Continence Foundation of Australia, CONSA, and APRHA accredited, Amanda is committed to up-skilling and attending conferences to stay abreast of new practices and research in this area.

This document has been prepared by Amanda Carmody at Thriving Families from a document made in collaboration with Natalie Gentile (Children’s Nursing Queensland), Jacqui Swindells (Spectrum Continence) and Janice Merriman (Sanctuary Continence Nursing) as part of the Nurse Continence Specialists in Private Practice Group.

This document is designed for families of children with continence needs, ensuring that every aspect of care is considered to support not just the child, but the whole family’s well-being.