Information on access to continence services.

There have been some changes to services to people, with severe urinary continence being able to access both Commonwealth and NSW State Government financial assistance.

In April 2009 the Program of Appliances for Disabled People (or PADP) which used to be located on the Mt Druitt Hospital campus, was amalgamated with other PADP offices into a central office in Parramatta. The NSW Health Department managing PADP changed to EnableNSW. More information is available on the EnableNSW website or, by calling Ph: 1800 362 253.

In July 2009 the Commonwealth Continence Aids Assistance Scheme (or CAAS as it was known) was replaced by the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (abbreviated to CAPS) and Medicare Australia replaced Intouch Direct in managing the CAPS funds.

The Commonwealth web site has more information at

Both services provide assistance to people who have permanent and severe incontinence to get funding for continence aids/products.

The other criteria for PADP remains that the person has a Centrelink pension or is on a low income. PADP supply a certain number of incontinence aids per financial year.

If a person’s incontinence or bladder problem is caused by prostate cancer, they need to have a Centrelink pension to be able to access CAPS. If the problem is caused by a neurological condition such as a stroke, then the person just needs to have a Medicare card. CAPS provides a certain amount of money per financial year and it’s up to the person to buy their own incontinence aids.

In most circumstances continence sufferers can access funding from both the Commonwealth and the State Governments.

Applications to both CAPS and PADP can be made by a G.P, Nurse Continence Adviser or Community Nurse. It is advisable that a person apply to both, if eligible as CAPS alone may not be enough assistance.

Apart from the above web sites you can obtain more information from the following;

  • Continence Foundation of Australia, National Continence Helpline on 1800-330-066
  • Continence Foundation of Australia, NSW Inc. 8741-5699
  • You can get help locally from Anne Sargent, CNC/Continence and Barb Pye, CNS/Continence based at Lemongrove Health Centre. Both can be contacted through Ph: 4734 – 4800.

You can refer yourself for a continence assessment by calling the Community Intake on Ph: 1800 013 101; a Nurse Continence Adviser will then contact you to arrange an appointment.

Urologic surgeons have devised a new procedure that helps men minimize incontinence after prostatectomy. It adds only a few minutes to standard robotic prostatectomy.

“Modifying existing tissues, our technique added only a few minutes to standard robotic prostatectomy, yet attained a 95 percent continence rate among patients 16 weeks after their surgeries,” explains lead researcher Dr. Ashutosh K. Tewari, director of robotic prostatectomy and outcomes research at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

“This is a real breakthrough in prostate cancer care, as a significant number of patients have post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence,” adds senior researcher Dr. E. Darracott Vaughan, attending urologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Too often, the threat of incontinence can be a key factor in a patient’s decision for or against prostatectomy,” he adds.

The new technique was tested in 50 consecutive patients scheduled to undergo robot-guided prostatectomy for the treatment of localized prostate cancer. The procedure added just two to five minutes to the standard prostate-removing operation.

“Our technique uses tissues that would normally remain behind after prostatectomy tissues that we can flip around and support to our advantage,” Dr. Tewari explains. “We reconstruct the anterior and posterior parts of the sphincter and surgically join the bladder and the anastomosis (the gap in tissues left by prostatectomy) with the surrounding structures. In doing so, we reconstruct the major anatomical players controlling urinary continence.”

The post-surgical results showed: One week after patients first had their urinary catheters removed, 29 percent were already fully continent; by six weeks, that figure rose to 62 percent; by eight weeks, 88 percent of the men were fully continent; and by 16 weeks, 95 percent had achieved continence.

The researchers stressed that the men involved in the study had all been diagnosed with non-aggressive, localized cancers. “With more aggressive tumours, surgeons must often excise the tissues that we need for reconstruction, so the technique is not useful in those cases,” Dr. Vaughan says.