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Incontinence a 'life sentence'

A report has been published today which says that people who suffer from incontinence are faced with a “life sentence” of suffering. The Royal College of Physicians makes the claim in its National Audit of Continence Care, saying that the the blame lies with  poorly organised NHS services and disjointed care for patients and carers.


[quote top=Dr Adrian Wagg, clinical director of the National Audit of Continence Care, said:]Bladder and bowel incontinence affects one in five people, causing ill health, depression, social isolation, and costing the NHS millions of pounds.

Although these are treatable conditions, people of all ages, and vulnerable groups in particular - frail older people and younger people with learning disability - continue to suffer unnecessarily and often in silence, with a life sentence of bladder and/or bowel incontinence.[/quote]


The audit surveyed the care given to 18,253 people across 135 NHS Acute Trusts, 26 Mental Healthcare Trusts, 86 Primary Care Trusts, and 122 care homes. The litany of problems uncovered included the fact that only 50% of patients in mental health and care home settings had a treatment plan for urinary incontinence; and that 41% of patients in acute care, 27% in primary care, 54% in mental health and 43% in care homes had no bowel history taken despite being faecally incontinent.


The report argues that the answer is to begin developing commissioning frameworks, to train health professionals with regards to national evidence based guidelines, and begin empowering patients to increase their expectations of cure.