Fear and overprotection in Australian residential aged-care facilities: The inadvertent impact of regulation on quality continence care

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Most residents in residential aged-care facilities are incontinent. This study explored how continence care was provided in residential aged-care facilities, and describes a subset of data about staffs' beliefs and experiences of the quality framework and the funding model on residents' continence care.


Using grounded theory methodology, 18 residential aged-care staff members were interviewed and 88 hours of field observations conducted in two facilities. Data were analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive analytic procedures.


Staffs' beliefs and experiences about the requirements of the quality framework and the funding model fostered a climate of fear and risk adversity that had multiple unintended effects on residents' continence care, incentivising dependence on continence management, and equating effective continence care with effective pad use.


There is a need to rethink the quality of continence care and its measurement in Australian residential aged-care facilities.

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