The form below not only suggests which questions should be asked as part of a comprehensive continence assessment, but also explains why the questions should be asked and what the answers might mean. It signposts sources of further information and other useful tools.
The assessment form can therefore be used both to document a child’s bladder and bowel behaviour and as a teaching aid.
Use this form to assess a child who has not yet been toilet trained. Some children with complex additional needs may never achieve continence. However, even children with significant learning, mobility or communication difficulties can achieve a good level of continence. Every child has the right to be helped to achieve their best possible level and to maintain their dignity.
Even if a child is unable to achieve full continence, a healthy bladder and healthy bowels should be promoted at all times. Constipation is very common in children with additional needs, and is often overlooked as their bowel problems are incorrectly attributed to their learning disability. Constipation may result in frequent, loose bowel actions (overflow soiling) which can cause sore skin. The full rectum and colon also occupy the space required for the bladder to expand, resulting in frequent small voids, and placing the child at risk of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) as bladder emptying is impaired.
NO child should ever be provided with nappies, pull-ups or pads without a full continence assessment to identify any bladder or bowel problems and to consider their toilet training potential.
If a child with additional needs is toilet trained please assess using the Continence Assessment Form - Child that has been toilet trained.
(**IMPORTANT** This word version must be used with the ERIC logo intact, OR if it is amended in any way after downloading, the ERIC logo needs to be removed and an acknowledgement of ERIC as the original author added saying 'Adapted from the ERIC original resource'.**)