Constipation: How can nurses help to reduce the scale of the problem?

Constipation: How can nurses help to reduce the scale of the problem

Review By Brigitte Collins

Constipation is often under-recognised as an important health issue. For that reason, many patients do not seek early treatment and as a result symptoms worsen over time. 
 
The Bowel Interest Group (BIG) for some time has been raising awareness around constipation and the scale to which it has now become a serious problem with emergency admissions to hospital rising year on year. Carlene Igbedioh an integrated continence advanced nurse practitioner, at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, in her published article ‘Constipation: How can nurses help to reduce the scale of the problem?’ draws upon the key findings from the BIG report including communication, managing high risk patients, laxative use and dedicated services. Carlene highlights how better treatment
pathways are necessary and now is the time for the NHS to review and improve service requirements.
 
Constipation can have an impact on an individual either physically, psychologically or with social wellbeing. Perhaps as Kyle (2010) recommended 11 years ago, constipation should be considered as a condition in its own right rather than seen as a symptom or set of symptoms.
 
References
Igbedioh C, ‘Constipation: how can nurses help to reduce the scale of the problem?’, Nursing Times [online], 2021, vol. 117, no. 5, pp. 53-54.
Kyle G, ‘The older person: management constipation’, Brit J Community Nursing, 2010, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 58-64.