NHS England has advised that according to a survey conducted in 2008, there are over 14 million adults who have bladder control problems and 6.5 million with bowel control problems in the United Kingdom.
The Department does not collect information on the number of people living with urinary and faecal incontinence specific to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This is a matter for devolved administrations.
The Healthcare Quality and Improvement Partnership (2010) established that in order to achieve the best clinical outcomes, continence services have to be integrated across primary and secondary care and care home settings.
They also concluded that ‘there is an urgent need for improved and equitable practice for all people with bladder and bowel problems’ through the development of commissioning frameworks, evidence-based training for health professionals and patient empowerment to increase their expectations of cure.
Improving continence care provision through integrated services brings many benefits including:
- a better quality of life and more independence through finding solutions appropriate to individual needs;
- less reliance on pads and products by using alternative treatments;
- a reduction in admissions to hospitals and care homes;
- fewer complications, such as urinary tract infections, faecal impaction and skin breakdown; and
- a reduction in costs.
NHS England’s Excellence in Continence Care guidance provides a framework that enables commissioners to work in collaboration with providers and others to make a step change to address shortfalls so that safe, dignified, efficient and effective continence care is consistently provided.
This guidance is aimed at commissioners, providers, health and social care staff and as information for the public and has been produced in partnership with patient and public advocates, clinicians and partners from the third sector. The roles of everyone involved in the care of people with continence needs are made clear in the guidance and publication via a launch is planned for ‘Self Care Week’ beginning 16 November. The launch will both raise awareness and promote understanding.
In addition the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has produced a range of guidance for clinicians to support them in the diagnosis, treatment care and support and people with continence problems e.g. Urinary incontinence in women (September 2013), Faecal incontinence in adults (June 2007), Urinary incontinence in neurological disease: assessment and management (August 2012) and Lower urinary tract symptoms in men: management (May 2010).