Chinese Community Wellbeing Society promotes continence health as part of sessions for members living with dementia

  • 4th July 2023

The Chinese Community Wellbeing Society, based in Bristol, is promoting the benefits of engaging in a range of activities for Chinese community members living with dementia.

Funding from NHS Charities Together, secured by Bristol Health Partners’ Dementia Health Integration Team (HIT), enabled the society to run sessions to support people living with dementia from the Chinese community, and their carers. These sessions included group walking, meditation, gentle dance and traditional Chinese QiGong exercises.

As part of this work, the society linked up with the Bladder and Bowel Confidence (BABCON) HIT to run two continence health workshops, as a person with dementia is more at risk of incontinence. These were led by Professor Nikki Cotterill, BABCON HIT director and Helen Oxenham, an Advanced Clinical Practitioner Physiotherapist from Sirona care & health.

The relaxed and sociable atmosphere encouraged conversation and discussion, and enabled the healthcare professionals to explore people’s needs openly in a dementia-friendly environment.

Everyone who attended said that the sessions were informative and useful and nearly all said that they would aim to do the exercises consistently, as advised. More than three quarters of attendees wanted to find out more about the referral process from their GP, although many expressed frustrations about the difficulties of getting a referral.

Kelly Zhang from the Chinese Community Wellbeing Society said:

“The NHS Charities Together intervention activity sessions aimed to break down language and cultural barriers in the Chinese community and to raise awareness of the connection between dementia and incontinence. This will enable them to understand the importance of carrying out the exercises as early as they can and linking up with specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.”

Nikki Cotterill said:

“These sessions provided a great opportunity to reach people in different patient groups who can be more at risk of incontinence and to cross the divide that can be caused due to language barriers.  It can be challenging to ensure all the people who can benefit from bladder and bowel health information are able to access it, and this method of working across HITs and among community groups was very effective.”