SURVEY OF CONTINENCE ORGANISATIONS


We sent a survey to continence organisations and some interesting responses were received from 12 organisations. It is difficult to provide all the information since it was presented in different formats. However, the following is a brief summary:

* The oldest organisations were the Association for Continence Advice, United Kingdom (1981) and Stichting Incontinentie Nederland (1982).

* Some organisations have a much broader responsibility than just urinary and/or faecal incontinence, such as the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA) which was established in 1972 (re-named in 1995), and the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

* The funding for the various organisations varied, but they all appeared to suffer from the same difficulties. Few received any government funding. Most relied on subscriptions from membership and support from sponsors, especially manufacturers, for survival.

* All the organisations provided various forms of professional meetings, workshops, conferences, and public educational meetings.

* The membership composition of each group varied significantly. Some had a very large percentage of consumer members; many had a high percentage of nurses, whilst others had a disproportionate medical representation. Physiotherapists and manufacturers made up small percentages of these groups.

* Telephone "Helplines" were reported by five organisations (New Zealand, Dutch, Australian, British and Danish). These appeared to be both busy and popular.

All groups provided information about various major meetings, conferences, and workshops that were being held in their country in 1997 -1998. A number of organisations reminded us of various information packages and products that they have prepared for distribution both locally and nationally. The Continence Promotion Committee has produced an information booklet which was distributed at a previous conference. This information is also available on ContiNet. The internet address for this is http://www.continet.org.sg. The Continence Promotion Committee is looking at ways to upgrade this information so that it can be accessible to organisations either through ContiNet or other means.