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Can we agree on a patient-centered, affordable and sustainable system for incontinence aids? Yes, we can!

Posted on 04.02.2016

Incontinence currently affects millions of Europeans and, as our populations grow older, it will touch the lives of many more. While Member States are responsible for the funding and delivery of health services, the EU can play an important role in improving patient care in this field by embedding key principles in health systems across Europe.

The European Association Working for Carers, World Federation of Incontinence Patients, EDANA and Eucomed agree that key principles include recognising incontinence as a set of diseases, ensuring that all patients affected by incontinence receive the care they need, which includes informing patients about their condition and available treatments, and fostering a patient-centred approach to incontinence care which values transparency and patient choice.

To help to manage incontinence, there are distinct ranges of medical devices available for individuals affected: absorbent products (e.g. inserts, all in one products, belted briefs, pants or “pull on” products), appliances (e.g. indwelling bladder drainage devices, intermittent transurethral catheters and intermittent self-catheterising systems, urinary condoms with leg bags) and e-health solutions like monitors that record pelvic floor exercises which is linked to a tangible sensor device, a web portal and smartphone app or sensor technology built into the absorbent products to measure urine voids (frequency & quantity).

If we want to make sure that patients and their carers have access to the right product at the right time, we call for the following principles to be applied by health systems across Europe:

  1. Incontinence should be recognised as set of diseases, clinical and care guidelines should be in place and followed.
  2. Patients should be provided with products and services that are medically and socially adequate, necessary, and identified based on individual assessment.
  3. Patients and carers should have access to product and service information and have freedom to choose the products/care they need.
  4. Continence care should not be considered a commodity business. 


We strongly believe these principles can help move towards patient-focused, sustainable and affordable systems for quality incontinence care: For more information, read our position paper on patient-centered, affordable and sustainable systems for incontinence aids.