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  • RACGP Clinical Guidelines for Investigating Urinary Incontinence
RACGP Clinical Guidelines for Investigating Urinary Incontinence

RACGP Clinical Guidelines for Investigating Urinary Incontinence

When we get older, our body doesn’t always work like it used to. It is estimated that 3 out of every 4 Australians who are in supported living situations have severe incontinence and 87% of people considering aged care list incontinence as a deciding factor. The risk increases with age, with 5% of people between the ages of 65 and 84 dealing with severe incontinence increasing to five times that when 85 or above.

Quality of life is greatly affected by incontinence. There is an increased risk of falls and fractures, which can lead to hospital beds and IAD scenarios. Social isolation and depression can result in lifestyle changes and when higher levels of care are needed, financial burdens increase.

Understanding the diverse subtypes of urinary incontinence is crucial as their causes and treatment approaches may vary. A systematic approach to addressing urinary incontinence involves thorough history-taking, physical examination, relevant tests, medication review, and excluding reversible causes.

There are several ways to investigate the effects of suspected urinary incontinence according to the RACGP. By using a three-day bladder chart, and recording input and output volumes, voiding times, fluid intake, and incidents of incontinence, Health practitioners get an approximate understanding of the incontinence severity. A GP can also request an MCS (microscopy, culture and sensitivity) urine collection test handled through pathology services or in complicated scenarios, health practitioners can request a Renal Ultrasound which can detect issues within soft tissue areas around the kidneys and bladder.

RACGP clinical guidelines state that basic investigations into urinary incontinence should include a portable bladder scan.

A portable bladder scanner is a quick and easy-to-use diagnostic device for the measurement of post-void residual urine (PVR). It can also detect how much fluid a bladder can hold, urinary retention, the shape of the bladder and the thickness of the bladder walls. Doctors can better determine the need for catheterization, and this results in fewer unnecessary placements of urinary catheters.

The RACGP mentions that the typical bladder capacity is approximately 500 mL, with little to no residual urine after voiding. However, a residual urine volume exceeding 100 mL may necessitate additional investigation.

Bladder scanners work with a transducer probe which generates ultrasound waves. These waves are bounced off the bladder and returned to the device for decoding. The screen on the scanner then shows a 3D interpretation of the patient's bladder.


Get More Information About Bladder Scanner Products

SSS Australia stocks several portable bladder scanners. If you need help determining which is the best fit for your practice or facility, please contact one of our Personal Account Managers.

MBS 55085. When medical professionals perform bladder ultrasounds there is a Medicare rebate that can be claimed – more info.

The full RACGP urinary incontinence guidelines – more info.

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