Frank Booth asks whether continence services will become pad providers as financial pressures increase
I’ve always been one for looking ‘outside the box’, around the box, under and over it, and inside it well. As a specialist it is your job to see everything from all angles. I believe that it also your duty and responsibility to lead your team in doing likewise, especially where patients are concerned.
As a very long term member of the Association for Continence Advice it is with regret that our regional secretary informed the membership of the untimely deaths of two of our colleagues. Both had developed life threatening long term illnesses and I would like and dare to hope that the specialists involved in their care both ‘did their duty’ and lead the specialist care that they needed in an exemplary manner.
Specialist generic care at our level, regardless of specialty, needs to be able to ‘hit the spot’, to ‘do what it says on the packet’ and reflect what patients should expect. Nothing but the best!
Yet I worry! Do we let people know what we do?
Will you use language that the patient can understand? Can you be sympathetic and empathic without being sycophantic?
I can promise you that what you say and do really does matter.
You know, you don’t have to be desperately ill or have a terminal illness to be frightened by your condition.
If you are told that you have a life threatening illness your emotional health as well as your physical health will be shattered but I’m sure that all professional continence nurse specialists will agree that you do not have to be dying to be emotionally destroyed by something many people see as ‘simply incontinence’.
Incontinence is anything but simple, it has the potential to be very complex and yet we still see it being treated as an everyday occurrence, no more important than a simple cough or cold.
Incontinence needs to be investigated using basic guidelines.
With spring in the air, this could be the time to renew the impetus for building a brighter future for incontinent people and continence services.
There is little point in grumbling about what the government or opposition parties may or may not be doing for health, that PCTs and hospital trusts just don’t care, and all that seems to matter is money. Well you know that it’s true to a greater or lesser extent.
The current financial climate is putting everyone under real pressure. There has always been only so much money available and cancer, heart services, children’s services, research and escalating drug budgets all seem to be higher up the pecking order than little cared-for continence services.
So it’s up to you and me to put down the markers. Let’s tell our organisations how important continence services are and how YOU can make a real difference.
You as leader of the continence service in your area might like to look at the financial books of your service.
My greatest worry would be that if money is withdrawn from the care elements of continence services we will slide back to a pad-providing service.
As care components are reduced, pad costs increase. It’s that never ending story and we’ve been there before.
Take a look at the books and then suggest to your managers that cutting staff, cutting clinics, cutting services WILL inevitably lead to increased pad costs.
Remember what we called it in the past, ‘throwing a pad at it’? How wrong it was. Are we back on that road again?
It doesn’t matter how excellent, professional and proficient you pad provider is, their profit margins cannot fall to zero percent and for some the profit margins are now already very low.
Welcome to the real world! It’s very close to now or never for trusts.