Faecal incontinence management in dementia patients
Faecal incontinence is a complex issue faced by many older adults. This article will provide an overview of this condition and its causes. It will also provide policy and guidance on the subject, its general management, complications, the support available for carers, and the issue of faecal incontinence in someone who has dementia.
Faecal incontinence involves the involuntary and frequent loss of stool, making it a distressing condition that has a significantly negative effect on the quality of life of the person affected (Ahmad et al, 2010). About 15% of the population suffers from it, and it is a common issue in many areas of healthcare, often being considered a comorbidity. Faecal incontinence also has financial strains on the individual, as the absorbent pads required are very expensive, yet in high demand under the NHS funding. Estimates of prevalence may even be inaccurate and lower than the reality. As Ahmad (2010) has noted, faecal incontinence is a heterogeneous problem ranging from minor faecal soiling to incapacitating urge or passive faecal incontinence and embarrassment, which may prevent patients from seeking help.
The conern with this condition is that it is socially debilitating and isolating and can result in skin damage and other such consequences, which cannot always be resolved. It can, however, be managed well.
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