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Faecal incontinence and dementia

02 December 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 12

Faecal incontinence is a complex issue for many older people. This article provides an overview of the condition, its causes, policy and guidance providing advice on the subject, general management, complications and support available for carers, with a focus on faecal incontinence in those with dementia.

Faecal incontinence involves the involuntary loss of stool or flatus—a distressing condition that has a significantly negative effect on the affected individual's quality of life (Ahmad et al, 2010). It is estimated to affect 15% of the population and is, thus, an important issue in many areas of healthcare, due to its effects and complications, which affect the physical and mental wellbeing of the patient. Cost is also an issue, as the absorbent pads required are very expensive, yet in high demand, under NHS funding. Estimates of prevalence may be inaccurate and lower than the reality, as Ahmad et al (2010) noted that faecal incontinence is a heterogeneous problem, ranging from minor faecal soiling to incapacitating urge or passive faecal incontinence.

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