There is no one better to give us the rundown on what exactly a continence assessment is other than our resident continence whiz, Monica Harrop. A continence nurse with decades of experience, Monica has shared her extensive knowledge with us to give our customers the best understanding of a continence assessment (and if you need one!)

What is a continence assessment?

A Continence Nurse carries out a Continence assessment. The assessment can be undertaken in your own home or at a Continence Clinic. The continence nurse will ask you a series of questions about your bladder and bowel habits. You will be asked to complete a bladder and bowel diary before attending the appointment with the nurse. The bladder and bowel diary records how much in MLS and how often you go to the toilet. You will also have to record how much and what type of fluids you / your child drinks. The Continence Nurse will be friendly and very supportive. There is no need to fear or be worried about what the assessment will involve. The first appointment is usually a very relaxed discussion about bladder and bowel habits. Once the type and causes of the problem have been identified, the continence nurse will develop a plan and a health professional can create a management strategy for your needs.

The sort of questions that you may be asked during a continence assessment are:

How often do you go to the toilet?

How much urine (wee) do you pass?

What do your bowel motions (poo) look like?

How often and how much do you leak urine?

What is your fluid and diet intake?

What medications are you currently taking?

Do you have any other health problems?

Are you able to take yourself to the toilet, dress and keep yourself clean?

Can you / your child wipe themselves?

What is a continence nurse?

A Continence Nurse is a Registered Nurse who has undertaken specific bladder and bowel management studies. Most Continence Nurses have many years of experience in this area and are easy to talk to. They have skills and knowledge related to managing all aspects of bladder and bowel care.  

Why would I go and see a continence nurse for an assessment?

It is essential to have a thorough assessment of the problem. The GP and other health professionals may not have the knowledge and experience in bladder and bowel care aspects. The nurse will talk to you and develop a specific plan for you or your child’s needs because each person is an individual and the management strategies are different. It’s essential to get the right advice and not listen to what other people tell you worked for them or their child. Looking on the internet can have its good points; however, the information you read needs to be interrupted correctly, which is what a continence nurse can do. You don’t necessarily have to have bladder and bowel accidents/leakage to see a nurse. There are many other problems related to bladder and bowel that the nurse can help with.

How can an assessment help me?

The assessment will help you find a reason for bladder and bowel problems and strategies to improve the situation. So, it is important to have an accurate diagnosis so that the problem is managed in the correct way

Can I use my NDIS funding to do a continence assessment?

Yes, most people supported by NDIA will provide a continence assessment in their plan if Continence is an issue. The assessment is required to develop a management plan. If products are needed to manage any incontinence/bladder and bowel problems, the assessment is essential to provide clinical justification for the supply of these products. Each NDIA participant must be assessed to ensure that the products they are using meet their continence care need as the Continence nurse will have a wealth of knowledge regarding the best products to use. The Continence Nurse can be very helpful with toilet training of children with special needs. This can be a very challenging and time-consuming time for parents. Advice and support from a Continence Nurse can make this journey for families much easier and less stressful.   

Is a continence assessment only for bladder incontinence?

A Continence assessment is conducted for a vast range of bladder and bowel problems and not just related to Bladder leakage/incontinence.

Small bladders – unable to “hold on.”

Bladder urgency

Toilet frequency




Fear of going to the toilet

Fear of doing poo without a nappy

Nighttime bedwetting

Day time dampness – without awareness

Containment – types of pads and nappies available

Management of skin irritations/ rashes – related to nappies

Funding support  

My son is still wetting the bed at six years old. Should I see a continence nurse?

Yes, it is always worth having a chat with the Continence Nurse. If these things are let go for too long, it is harder to solve them. Bedwetting can generally be easily resolved. The GP often says to wait until they are 7 or 8 and the bladder matures, but from our experience, we get better results if we start working on this at a younger age. Sometimes the child isn’t ready to follow a plan with the parents support, and that’s OK, but a chat with a continence nurse is an excellent place to start.

We hope Monica’s answers to these important questions have given you more clarity about continence assessments and the role of a continence nurse.  If you would like to chat with Monica further, we’ll leave a contact us link here:

Our friendly customer service team would be happy to help with any product questions! Contact us via our contact page, live chat, or phone at 1300 721 710.