Highlights from the 6th GFI
The 6th Global Forum on Incontinence (GFI), “Sustainable health and social care: The role of Continence Care in enabling Independent and Dignified living”, was held in Berlin on 19-20 of April 2016. It brought together more than 350 patients, carers, policy-makers, payers, experts, health and social care professionals and NGOs from all over the world.
“This year’s GFI focused on addressing the need to improve and support the day-to-day management of continence care at home and in the community, to enable people living with incontinence and their caregivers to lead active, independent and dignified lives”, said GFI Chair Ian Milsom, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. “By bringing together all relevant stakeholders we were able to identify and discuss the outlines of a quality and outcome framework for the management of incontinence at home and in the community”, he added.
At the GFI a major pan-European study developed by AGE Platform Europe, (a European network representing over 40 million older people in Europe and SCA), was presented. Entitled “Management for Containment - A review of current continence care provisions”, the study investigated how well provisions for containment products support people to manage their incontinence on a daily basis at home and in the community in six regions in Germany, Poland, England and Spain.
Gathering insights from people with incontinence, as well as their informal carers, the study revealed how well people can manage their incontinence with the support given today, and to what extent they were involved in the decision on what product type to use. “There is a lot of room for improving the care of people with incontinence at home and in the community”, said Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe. In particular, the study highlighted three key factors which could lead to greater user independence and improved quality of life at home and in the community:
- Information and knowledge about the different containment product types available
- Involvement in selecting the containment product type
- Tailored funding provisions based on patient profiles and needs
Also presented was a Joint Position Statement by eight leading European patient and civil society organizations on incontinence and the provision of better continence care at home and in the community. This and the study served as a basis for discussion among the GFI participants about how to help drive better quality and outcomes from the provisions for the day-to-day management for containment at home and in the community. Participants identified a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for improved health and clinical outcomes, social participation and functional ability as well as economic/financial outcomes.
A key point made several times during the GFI was that while there are various treatment options available for urinary and faecal incontinence, many people are not being cured and are likely to continue to rely on containment strategies and provisions. Therefore there was a wide consensus among GFI participants that there is a need to have management for containment at the hart/center of continence care and design provisions that support people to lead an independent and dignified life at home and in the community.
“I am particularly happy as this year we not only discussed the burden of incontinence on individuals, their carers and society, but we also explored concrete steps on how to improve the quality of care offered for the day-today lives of people in need of continence care and their caregivers”, said GFI co-Chair Adrian Wagg, Professor of Healthy Ageing and Division Director of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Alberta, Canada. He concluded that “This great achievement would not have been possible without the enthusiastic participation of the audience and the invaluable contributions made during the conference.”