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debate 2013 cfa conf
Extreme Dress-Ups: The Great Debate CFAConf2013
I am sitting on the plane coming back from our 22nd CFA National conference in Perth. And am feeling warm and fuzzy- the plane left on time, I’ve got a spare seat next to me so I can spread out, the Qantas streaming IPad is working, (unlike when on the nearly six-hour trip over where it DIDN’T work) and I’ve had a (freebie) champers for lunch. And I’ve had this revelation about CFA conferences. When we go to them it’s abit like catching up with family once a year. We all gather at the designated reunion spot (Perth this year, Cairns next year) and we start filing in for the workshops on the day before the conference opening day, we say hi to everyone and it feels fantastically comfortable.
Everyone looks exactly the same- we are all aging VERY gracefully and we all feel nothing has changed since the first National conference 22 years ago. What makes it feel comfortable is the fact Dad, Barry Cahill our CEO, is such a congenial fellow. He talks (oh yeah he can talk) to everyone as though they are family- our Continence family- a committed bunch of professionals who are passionate about their day job- keeping Australia dry and clean. Shan, our conference organizer, who I feel privileged to have had something to do with starting her connection with our CFA conferences all those years ago, is like the calm, organized big Sis who you rely on for absolutely everything. Nothing – not anything – can flip her into a tail spin!
Dr Michael Murray, who has been the president of CFA(for about a hundred years and no one wants it any other way) is the loveable uncle who has a jolly laugh and cracks all the slightly ‘Dad’ jokes and surrounds himself with a bunch of extremely capable women. There are many other members of this family- physios, nurses, doctors who keep coming back year after year to support the conference, when there are SO many conferences that they could and do attend every year- to spell out the message that managing continence well, is a team approach and we all love the team.
(Oh God, I am in heaven – they’ve now brought some sort of amazing meringue ice-cream and because I’m 30,000 feet up in the air I’m pretty sure it means the fat / sugar won’t stick on the hips).
We have the (dedicated, designated) trouble makers – Dr Peter Dietz is one who comes armed with 167 RCT(Level 1 Grade A) research papers he’s personally conducted – challenging us all to get our heads out of the sand and accept the bleeding obvious and change practices to reflect the evidence, but more importantly search high and low for solutions to minimize childbirth trauma. There’s the routine debate between the physios versus the surgeons, which this year was an opportunity for some to play ‘Extreme Dress-ups’. It was titled: ‘That conservative management of urinary incontinence and prolapse management should be the first line of treatment. The physios, of course took the affirmative and the surgeons had the negative.
It was of course a flawed topic – always destined to be won hands down by the physios. The poor surgeons were like lambs to the slaughter because they had already presented at the conference espousing the importance of conservative management of urinary incontinence and prolapse management as the first line of treatment and of course the evidence is out there in the literature. Thanks to two champions of the physiotherapy profession, Dr Helena Frawley and Dr Marg Sherburn for their disciplined, well-thought out arguments and of course commiserations to Michelle and Robyn, the surgeons who had the poisoned chalice of the negative position.
Every year there are always newbies who attend the conference and marvel at the congeniality amongst the professions- it is important to respect everyone’s position and role in spreading the word of continence management and to understand that there are SO MANY men, women and children out there suffering incontinence, that there is room for everyone to try and help. And of course sometimes there is someone you’d like to send to the naughty corner for saying inappropriate things!
Before I finish this indulgence of reviewing this year’s family reunion, I would like to congratulate and (yell from the rooftops) speak seriously about the amazing work the CFA does. This year we were treated to a talk from Nives Zerafa in charge of the CALD project. CALD stands for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and this project, funded by a range of different sources, but probably a significant amount from the Commonwealth Govt, has allowed the translation of multiple continence leaflets into many languages. There is no room for racial discrimination here- just an understanding that incontinence in anyone’s language is distressing and the CFA is the mob to help you. The Continence Helpline, the new iPad or smart phone  ‘app’ to teach you what exercise is NOT pelvic-floor-safe, the Health Promotion Officers from each state who are instrumental in organizing education workshops – these initiatives under Barry’s, Michael’s and all the other CFA leaders’ stewardship are simply the envy of the rest of the Continence world and we should be thankful and proud of their achievements. These preventative strategies ARE quite simply saving Australia money and I am so grateful for the funding that enables this positive organization to flourish and thrive. May it continue long into the future.
We are descending now and been told to pack the iPad away so farewell from the Continence Conference for 2013 and to Karen, the Queensland a president and the Qld Committee- you can take this as my reporting finished, thank you so much for my scholarship. I hope you have liked my blogs and until next year- as one of my #pelvicmafia friends from Scotland- GussieGrips- would say on Twitter:
#Doyablardyexercises and see you in Cairns September 2014.

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