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

  • 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 (ICWA), 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 trialed 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 materials and continence management tools are available on the Insurance Commission and Brightwater websites so continence and care practices can be enhanced across the sector.

    A community workshop to explain the results of the research will be hosted at the National Disability Services WA on October 29. Register for the workshop:

    As stated by Treasurer Ben Wyatt:

    “ICWA 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 ICWA 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.”

    /Public Release. View in full here.