A new campaign by Bladder & Bowel UK and Attends aims to shine a light on the social, emotional, psychological, and economic impact of incontinence on families and support networks. As a result want to start a conversation so that those affected can find a sense of solidarity, reduce taboos, and share coping strategies.

The NHS estimates that 14 million people of all ages are living with bladder problems, and one in 10 of the population is affected by faecal incontinence. This new campaign aims to raise awareness of the role individuals play in supporting loved ones who experience the problem and the kind of support they need in turn.

The new campaign will engage with those people who are supporting friends and family members – listening to their voices and gathering their experiences through original research. It will introduce a new series of resources to provide help on topics such as ‘How to have difficult conversations: talking to a family member about incontinence’ and ‘Signs a family member may need help with incontinence.’

The campaign also seeks to emphasise that families and support networks often struggle to deal with incontinence and remind policymakers that the burden of care often falls unjustly and disproportionately on family members who need more specialist support.


The informative resources, produced by Bladder & Bowel UK’s team of specialist nurses, are available from the campaign hub. Topics covered include:

  • Supporting someone with incontinence: Shining a light on the impact on families.
  • Signs a family member may need help with incontinence.
  • How to talk to a family member about incontinence.
  • Who can help me if I am concerned about my child’s bladder and/or bowel health?


The campaign will ask audiences to share their experiences, explore how supporting someone with incontinence might have affected their own well-being, and affirm what kind of support they would benefit from. The impact of incontinence on families and support networks survey is now live on the campaign hub.

Alongside the survey, a submission portal is open. This allows people to share anonymously what they have learnt on their journey of supporting an individual with incontinence. The portal is available to offer advice to others in similar situations.

Karen Irwin, Specialist Nurse and Service Manager, Bladder and Bowel UK said:

“Many of us will find ourselves supporting a loved one with incontinence at some point. This is something that is rarely discussed – even within families. This campaign is about shining a light on the experiences of everyone involved and providing guidance and advice to people navigating this tricky terrain. We want everyone to get the help they need, and to do this we need to tackle the taboos. People should know that they’re not alone in this.”

Sarah Curtis, Managing Director – UK, Ireland & BeNeLux, Attends said: “We understand how much effective continence care improves wellbeing, not only of individuals but their families and friends as well. That’s why we are delighted to be supporting Bladder & Bowel UK’s vital new campaign. Taking a holistic view of what continence support is and working towards a better understanding of the often-forgotten impact of incontinence on support networks.”



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