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Continence support for people living at home with dementia (DemCon Homecare)


Most of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK live in their own homes with support from family or friend carers. Dementia puts people at much greater risk of developing continence problems. Many people living with dementia and their carers find dealing with incontinence hugely distressing. Research by team members has found that many carers want proactive support from the professionals they see (either healthcare or homecare workers), but healthcare professionals often feel ill-equipped to help carers or advise homecare workers.

Aims and research questions

The aim of DemCon is to develop and test an intervention to help healthcare professionals to deliver continence support to people with dementia at home, their carers and home care workers. Emerging from this initial work, this related project, DemCon Homecare, will plan the development, evaluation and wide-scale implementation of continence-related resources for use by homecare workers in discussions with those they care for, about how best to support them in managing continence.


2023 – 2024


NIHR Three Schools' Dementia Research Programme (Added Value Fund)


This project will scope the content, design and potential usability of a practical guide for homecare workers when supporting people living at home with dementia who have continence-related needs. The guide aims to facilitate homecare workers in their conversations with people living with dementia and their family carers, specifically to:

  • support communication
  • promote independent toilet-use
  • enhance continence care.

It comprises five stages:

Stage 1: Identification and recruitment of key stakeholders. Engagement with potential organisations to host the resource. Examination of existing dementia-friendly resources to inform initial ideas regarding design and content.

Stage 2: Initial stakeholder consultation to inform content and design of resource.

Stage 3: Development of co-produced plan for the proposed content, style and implementation of the practical guide for homecare workers.

Stage 4: Stakeholder consultation to receive further feedback on co-produced plan.

Stage 5: Development of funding application based on these plans. Production of project report and paper for publication focussing on the involvement of homecare workers and people living with dementia in the process of planning the content, design and implementation of this resource.

Expected outcome and impact

A plan for the development, evaluation and wide-scale implementation of usable, useful and acceptable continence care resources for homecare workers. At the end of this study we will produce a peer-reviewed publication detailing the findings and also the process. The development, evaluation and implementation of these resources will be dependent on further funding.


Dr Barbara Bradbury, Principal Investigator (University of Southampton): | Dr Cathy Murphy, (University of Southampton):  |  Professor Mandy Fader (University of Southampton):  |  Professor Miriam Santer (University of Southampton):  |  Dr Helen Chester (King’s College London):  |  Dr Leanne Morrison (University of Southampton):

See also

  • The earlier study on which this study builds: Development, evaluation and provision of an intervention for primary and community NHS staff to help carers and homecare workers supporting people living at home with dementia with their continence (DemCon)


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University of Southampton

University of Southampton