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Addressing Incontinence in Home Health: An Occupational Therapist's Perspective

presented by Krista Covell-Pierson

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Incontinence in older adults increases fall risk, potential urinary tract infections, skin breakdown, depression, social withdrawal, fatigue, and embarrassment. Occupational therapy professionals can improve clients’ quality of life by addressing bowel and urinary incontinence more thoroughly when the client is enrolled in home health. If OT professionals do not integrate incontinence treatment strategies into their interventions, clients with the issues listed above are put at risk unnecessarily, and it can even lead to re-hospitalizations.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Krista Covell-Pierson, OTR/L, BCB-PMD

    Krista Covell-Pierson, OTR/L, BCB-PMD, owns an innovative private practice, Covell Care and Rehabilitation, which aims to help adult and older-adult clients become safer, more independent and engaged in the home and community through a unique and one-of-a-kind model. Krista developed this model from the ground up, and it allows clients to access OT, PT, SLP, geriatric care management, senior fitness instructors and massage therapy in their home and community settings. Krista is an expert in issues related to aging adults and has extensive experience working in the home setting and helping clients reintegrate into the community. Having graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in Social Work and Occupational Therapy, she is also board certified in biofeedback for pelvic muscle dysfunction. She works with students around the nation and internationally and was honored by Colorado State University as the Fieldwork Educator of the Year in 2013. The Coloradoan newspaper named Krista as one of their SuperWomen of the Year in 2015 for her contributions to the communities of Northern Colorado. Krista serves as the Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado’s president and has been a speaker at the Colorado State Conference on Incontinence and Pelvic Health. She speaks regularly at community events, at local senior centers, at health fairs and for professional organizations. In addition to her deep passion of working with her clients, Krista finds equal satisfaction in helping therapists develop their own private practices, cultivate their passions and thrive in their careers.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Understanding Incontinence

    1. Understanding Incontinence

    In this chapter, therapists will learn how to assess urinary and bowel incontinence appropriately when meeting a new client. It's important to watch for clues that may indicate incontinence issues when assessing a client. Normalizing the conversation for the client and building rapport will also be covered.

  2. Evaluations and Inquiry

    2. Evaluations and Inquiry

    This chapter aims to normalize the conversation about incontinence and build rapport with the client. Assessing the client's environment related to incontinence and identifying risk factors are covered.

  3. Teaching Clients About Pelvic Anatomy and Urinary/Bowel Function

    3. Teaching Clients About Pelvic Anatomy and Urinary/Bowel Function

    This chapter reviews the pelvic anatomy and urinary/bowel function. Normal bladder and bowel habits are discussed, as well as how to educate on different types of incontinence.

  4. Treating Bowel Dysfunction: The Basics for OTs

    4. Treating Bowel Dysfunction: The Basics for OTs

    This chapter provides an overview of tools and handouts to use while investigating the bowel habits of a client. Understanding the role of fiber and knowing common bowel irritants are also covered.

  5. Treating Bladder Dysfunction: The Basics for OTs

    5. Treating Bladder Dysfunction: The Basics for OTs

    This chapter reviews clients' specific urination habits to identify the incontinence type they're experiencing. The urge suppression technique and incorporating pelvic floor exercise programs are included.

  6. Helpful Hints and Tips

    6. Helpful Hints and Tips

    This chapter discusses how to balance incontinence with additional goal areas. Strategies to integrate into social and community activities are also covered.