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An evaluation of two body-worn continence products in an NHS trust.

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VOL: 100, ISSUE: 20, PAGE NO: 75

Sally Ellingford, RGN, DipHE, is clinical nurse specialist in continence care, Castle Point and Rochford Primary Care Trust and Southend Hospital NHS Trust

Introducing the new product

Introducing the new product
It was agreed that the absorbent products would be used throughout the hospital from April 2003. Teaching sessions were arranged to introduce staff to the new products before the agreed date for conversion.

In June 2003, following the introduction of the absorbent pads a staff evaluation questionnaire was distributed and a cost comparison undertaken to ensure that they were an acceptable replacement for the products used before the trial, met patients' needs and were cost-effective.

Method
The audit tool consisted of a questionnaire covering a number of key areas. It was sent to 24 wards, just over half (14) of which responded. The questionnaire asked about the use and effectiveness of the absorbent pads from the perspective of patients and staff (Box 1).

The audit also consisted of a cost comparison between September 2002 - before the new absorbent pads were used - and June 2003 - three months after they were introduced.

The results were then recorded and collated by the audit department.

Results
The first four questions on the questionnaire were concerned with supply and related issues and the answers are not relevant to this article.

The results from the remaining questions on the questionnaire were as follows:

- Seventy-three per cent of respondents agreed that the products covered every need;

- Eighty-two per cent stated that the products were suitable in all circumstances;

- Seventy-five per cent noted that they were changing the absorbent pads less often;

- Seventy-five per cent found the absorbent pads easier or much easier to fit, while 92 per cent noted better or much better user comfort;

- Ninety-two per cent found the absorbent pads better or much better in relation to leakage;

- Eighty-four per cent noted that skin integrity was better or much better;

- Half the respondents stated that the products promoted better or much better independence and self-care and 90 per cent believed that the absorbent pads increased user dignity;

- Eighty-five per cent noted that the absorbent pads had a positive impact on carer time and inappropriate use of pads improved by 80 per cent.

The comparison of costs before and after the new products were introduced can be summarised in the following way:

- The total cost for body-worn absorbent pads in September 2002 was £3,417.46;

- In June 2003 this figure had increased slightly to £3,541.49.

Conclusion
The standardisation of continence products across the trust has improved quality of care for patients and has also enhanced patient dignity, independence and comfort.

Use of these absorbent disposable products was also deemed to be cost-effective and there was a measurable saving in staff time which will have benefits across the hospital.

FOOTNOTE
The research was supported by an educational grant from SCA Hygiene Products Limited.

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