This year’s the Association for Continence Advice (ACA) conference at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow (13–14 May) challenged nurses to think across specialist boundaries with presentations from experts on dementia care and learning disabilities, as well as infection control. All too often we can work within our specialist area of interest without thinking about the knowledge and skills that others have to share. Yet boundaries do cross and this is evident in infection control.
The conference included a presentation on Clostridium difficile and it is clear that continence advisers can offer their patients practical advice on the management of diarrhoea associated with C. difficile. However, it is very important that nurses not only pass on their knowledge of patient care, products and skin care but also ensure they stay up to date on current infection-prevention measures. To this end, this supplement contains an overview of C. difficile. Additional information about infection prevention and control is available on nursingtimes.net.
Delegates at the conference were made aware of the huge advances that are being made in the care of people with continence problems. There are developments in drug therapies, including a new treatment for opioid-induced constipation that may soon be available in the UK (see Update, p38), as well as developments in catheters and catheter-related devices.
Despite these advances, however, much still needs to be done to persuade nurses working in hospitals and the community that they can make a substantial difference to the management of people with bowel and bladder dysfunction. This is evident in the bowel management of people with spinal cord injuries, who may be denied effective bowel care on admission to hospital. Many of these patients rely on the digital removal of faeces to maintain bowel function and every nurse should understand the implications of failing to provide this care. However, as Gaye Kyle points out on p40, nurses in acute care are not attending digital removal of faeces (DRF) courses provided by their trusts and are therefore denying patients access to this essential aspect of their care.
Nurses need to engage with the issue of bowel care and, to support readers, NT has launched a bowel section on its website with access to up-to-date articles, links and resources. To find out more visit nursingtimes.net.
Eileen Shepherd, editor, Continence Journal