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Are you up to date with bowel management?

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Bowel care is part and parcel of nurses work and it is worth reading this personal reflection to get a sense of how long term problems effect relationships, work and self esteem.

The author describes her experience of living with faecal incontinence, “I discussed how the worst experience for me was the loss of the physical side of our marriage. I learnt that many of the women were experiencing the same feelings or, even worse, it had resulted in divorce”.

This is a stark reminder of why careful and sensitive bowel assessment is an essential part of patient care. Nurses have an important role in identifying and assessing abnormal bowel function, exploring its impact on daily life as well as educating patients about managing their symptoms.

One of the most common gastro intestinal disorders encountered in clinical practice is constipation. It affects around 20% of people living in the community yet many people live with it for years before asking for help.

When patients get the courage to tell you about the problem is you knowledge up to date?

How would you assess a patient with constipation?

What laxative regime should beprescribed?

What advise should you give patients about fibre?

When should you use suppositories or enemas?

What training is required to do a digital rectal examination?

How should you treat constipation in people with spinal injuries?

If you sometimes feel uncertain when faced with a patient with constipation and have a question join our constipation clinical chat on 9th October at 1pm with clinical experts Wendy Ness, colorectal nurse specialist at Croydon University Hospital and Debra Ollerhead, continence lead at NHS Wirral Community Trust.

You can email questions to Eileen.shepherd@emap.com or tweet @eileenshepherd

You can learn more about constipation by taking part in our online learning unit: Advances in treatment of constipation.

Participating in NT Clinical Chats can contribute to you CPD. How to get the most out of Clinical Chats:

  • Look at the topic in advance of the chat and plan questions you would like to ask
  • Participate in the chat by posting questions or comments
  • Download the transcript after the chat as evidence of your participation. This will be available hereafter the webchat
  • Write a reflection on what you have learned and how you could use this information in clinical practice, to store in your portfolio.

 

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