In support of Urology Awareness Month we will be sharing guest blogs from health and social care experts to help raise awareness of Urology and Urology conditions, including how they affect people in the UK.
Urology deals with diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract in men and women. It also covers the male reproductive system. Urological conditions include some of the most common serious diseases in the UK – such as prostate cancer, kidney damage and incontinence.
The first in a series of guest blogs, which are being led by the Excellence in Continence Care Board (chaired by NHS England’s Nursing Directorate), comes to you from Sharon Eustice, Nurse Consultant, Bladder and Bowel Specialist Service at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Sharon focusses on how – for far too long – people have suffered in silence, talks candidly about incontinence, which is more common than you may think and encourages colleagues to be bold and brave:
Absorbent pads for urinary incontinence can offer vital contribution to the restoring of dignity through effective containment. However, we continue to be challenged by the misuse and abuse of pads, especially in a financially volatile climate. How we reconcile the clinical needs of those in our care with the escalating cost pressures requires our savvy, tenacity and courage to stand up for best practice. Of course, whilst standing up for best practice, we need to squash poor practice.
Patients receiving pads who have not been offered treatment for their condition can illustrate poor practice. The padding up of the problem suggests a society that has accepted leaky bladders as tolerable. Indeed, this belief is gradually shifting and more individuals are accessing healthcare to seek care and treatment.
Nevertheless, the normalising of a bladder (or bowel) problem appears grounded in centuries of stigma and secrecy. Therefore, coping with incontinence tends to be shielded behind toilet doors; and veiled in the dark corners of health and social care.
It is now time to unveil the dark corners and get brave with what can happen to our bodies at any time, with or without disease and disability. There will always be a need for absorbent pads. What we can do as health and social carers is to speak up and empower those in our care to disclose a problem, whilst dealing with it sensitively; and of course with dignity.
Let us start to see the light.