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13-09-2010 | General practice | Article

Report slams incontinence management


Royal College of Physicians: Management of Continence Care

The diagnosis of incontinence is often poor or non-existent in the UK, concludes an audit published by the Royal College of Physicians.

The National Audit of Continence Care found that no diagnosis for incontinence was documented in 19% of older patients in primary care, rising to 38% of patients in mental health care.

The report also found that 29% of older people in primary care and 36% in acute care had no treatment plan for incontinence, while this applied to half of those in mental health and care homes settings.

And 27% of patients in primary care, along with 41% in acute care, 54% in mental health care and 43% in care homes had no bowel history taken despite being faecally incontinent, the report says.

Dr Adrian Wagg, Clinical Director of the National Audit of Continence Care, said that bladder and bowel incontinence can cause ill health, depression and social isolation.

"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," he commented.

The report's authors say that continence services are generally poorly integrated across acute, primary, care home and community settings and that clinical services are not complying with National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines.

While the report concludes that training in continence care is also inadequate, highlighting problems in acute and mental health settings, it acknowledges that national standards "appear to have had some impact in primary care."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Caroline Price