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NICE calls for regular assessments of neurology patients with urinary problems

People who have neurological conditions and also experience symptoms of lower urinary tract dysfunction should be offered detailed assessments, NICE has said.

The health body has issued the clinical guidance in a bid to minimise the distressing effects caused by incontinence and other urinary problems on those with conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and head or spinal cord injuries.

Under the guidance, healthcare professionals across England and Wales are advised to undertake thorough assessments of such patients, including obtaining information about their urinary tract and neurological symptoms, other health problems such as bowel or sexual problems, and their use of medication and therapies.

Factors such as mobility, hand function, cognitive function, social support and lifestyle should also be assessed, with the information gained used to inform the management of each patient’s urinary problem.

NICE says that these assessments should happen at least every three years, although individual circumstances - such as a patient’s age, diagnosis and type of management - may mean they need to be undertaken more frequently.

NICE’s director of the centre for clinical practice, Professor Mark Baker, said: “Incontinence is common in people who have conditions caused by damage to their brain, spinal cord or other parts of their nervous system. It can be particularly problematic when there is an underlying neurological condition because these people may have mobility, hand function and sight impairments and so may need extra support to manage the effects.”

He added: “Incontinence can have a huge impact on a person’s daily activities, and can increase demand on carers, such as partners and family members.”

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