Tallaght University Hospital Initiates Conversation on Continence

Pants for Continence(June 17th 2019) Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) is holding a Continence Awareness Week campaign coinciding with World Continence Awareness Week. The week long campaign will include education sessions for staff, patients and the public in a bid to get people talking about the issue and focus on improving services in this area.

TUH’s Continence Awareness Week will run with the theme of ‘PANTS for Continence’ – be Proactive, ensure greater Awareness, there’s Nothing to be ashamed of, Talk to your doctor or nurse and together we can Solve the problem.

An audit of patients at TUH in a single day last year highlighted that almost a third (31%) have urinary incontinence, while just 1.6% had a care plan in place. There was an equal number of women and men showing incontinence. The audit also found that more than three-quarters (77%) were on medications that could exacerbate urinary incontinence.

Professor Rónán Collins, Consultant Geriatrician of TUH said: “Management of incontinence in Ireland is poor. Continence is a very significant health issue in our communities and hospitals – there is no other condition that occurs in over a third of hospitalised patents. Our hospitals need to transform their approach to incontinence, the sad reality is that many are actively contributing to rather than addressing the problem, and reinforcing the stigma of incontinence through inaction or the lack of modest specialist resources. Every acute hospital and community health organisation should ensure patients are empowered, encouraged and reassured to speak out about incontinence, have at least one continence nurse specialist in place with the supportive multidisciplinary gerontological urological and gynaecological clinical pathway. Continence is an issue that we don’t talk about sufficiently because it is embarrassing or the services to help people are not in place. Here at TUH, across all the disciplines involved in patient care, we are committed to get people talking about continence and start to change this narrative and defining the solutions.”

At TUH this week, patients and hospital staff will be encouraged to play their part in talking about incontinence. Patients will be issued with cards asking them questions about their behaviours around continence, reassuring them and encouraging them to talk to their doctor or nurse about the issue.

Professor Collins added: “If we continue to ignore or hide away from talking about continence then people will continue to have reduced quality of life, loss of self-esteem and dignity, depression and poor health outcomes. We do need to improve services in this area across our health system and it is time to develop a national charter for continence.

Patients must have a right to have their continence maintained in the Hospital and the community. Patients that need help must also have a right to their dignity and the care they need, especially in our hospitals. I believe the use of continence pads or catheters should not be routine, but a last resort and it is time for multidisciplinary and indeed interdisciplinary assessment and care for loss of continence.”


About Tallaght University Hospital
TUH is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals, adult, psychiatric and age-related healthcare on one site. The Hospital has 495 adult beds with 3,000 people on staff. The Hospital is a provider of local, regional and national specialties. It is also a national urology centre, the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country and a regional orthopaedic trauma centre. The Hospital also has 67 paediatric beds under the governance of Children’s Health Ireland and 52 mental health beds under HSE governance. 

TUH is one of the two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in areas such as nursing, health and social care professionals, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others. TUH is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties.  

A new paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre is to be built at TUH as part of the Children’s Health Ireland project as a key element of an integrated clinical network for paediatric services nationally. The Hospital’s Emergency Departments catered for 51,084 Adult Attendance and 32,424 Paediatric Attendance in 2018. A further 267,623 patients were treated through the Hospital’s Adult and Paediatric outpatient clinics in 2018. The Hospital’s operations are supported by 200 general practitioners in surrounding communities and aligned with Community Health Organisation 7.