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Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults

Develop the skills to work with adults with different types of continence problems and understand effective treatments.

4,083 enrolled on this course

Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults
  • Duration7 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $69Find out more

Learn how to support self-management of continence conditions

On this course you’ll examine the principles and practice of promoting continence with people who have bladder or bowel dysfunction.

You’ll learn how to recognise and assess the common conditions experienced. You’ll develop the skills to work with adults with different types of continence problems.

You’ll also learn how to create effective management plans to treat the condition, and explore how to minimise the impact of these stigmatising conditions.

By the end of the course you’ll understand how to effectively treat the condition, and support the person to self-manage their condition.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds We need to talk about pee and poo.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds Poorly treated bladder and bowel incontinence causes untold distress and illness and with a growing aging population continence has become everyone’s business. It’s time to break toilet taboos and talk about how we can best treat incontinence. Those of us in the caring professions need a clear understanding of all the factors involved. Whether you’re a nurse, a physiotherapist, a GP, or other health professional, being aware of your treatment options helps your patients to avoid distress, discomfort, and illness. That’s why the Association for Continence Advice have launched this online learning programme to help you consider your options for continence treatment before containment. I’m Jo Booth. For many years I’ve been studying how best to support people with bladder and bowel health problems.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds I’m now the course director for the Understanding Continence Promotion online course brought to you by the Association for Continence Advice. I’m leading a great team of experts from a range of health care professions. And, in this course, we bring our knowledge and experience to you. We’ll explore a range of topics, designed to give you the knowledge and skills to apply the latest continence research to your practice. We’ll encourage you to develop confidence in your abilities to treat bladder and bowel continence issues. Helping you identify issues and finding accurate causes so the most appropriate treatments can be offered.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds Whether you’re a nurse, a GP, physiotherapist, or other form of health professional, or anyone with continence concerns, looking to make a positive difference to your understanding and practice, this course is for you. It’s time to talk about continence and FutureLearn is a great place to learn. You’ll be part of an online community. You’ll learn from continence experts, people with continence issues, and from each other. So, come and join us on this innovative and taboo-breaking course.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Promoting continence or managing incontinence?

    • Welcome

      In this Association for Continence Advice course, examine the principles and practice of promoting continence with people who have bladder or bowel disfunction and support them in self-managing their condition.

    • What would happen if nobody was interested in promoting continence?

      Explore the basic skills required for continence and differentiate between the two different pathways of promoting continence and managing incontinence.

    • How big an issue is bladder and bowel incontinence?

      Discover how a person's bladder and bowel affect their life. It is not just about incontinence or actual leakage. Find out how catching Lower Urinary Tract Symptons (LUTS) early may prevent incontinence developing.

    • The Continence Paradigm

      The Continence Paradigm and the need to understand the purpose of continence intervention (whether treatment or containment) is discussed

    • Summary activities

      We summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learnt and what aspects you will put into practice.

  • Week 2

    Bladder function

    • Welcome to week 2

      This week you will focus on how the bladders works, what normal bladder function is and what happens when there is damage to the structures involved.

    • Anatomy of the lower urinary tract

      Explore the bladder and urethra, and find out how they relate to the lower bowel, the male and female reproductive organs and the pelvic floor muscles.

    • Physiology of the lower urinary tract

      Explore the physiology of the lower urinary tract and find out how continence is acquired and maintained.

    • Summary activities

      We summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learnt and what aspects you will put into practice.

  • Week 3

    Bladder dysfunction

    • Welcome to week 3

      This week you will focus on bladder dysfunction and we introduce you to four case studies who have different types of urinary incontinence. Explore the factors affecting bladder function.

    • Bladder storage dysfunction

      Examine our case studies: Joyce who has an overactive bladder and Susan who has stress incontinence and find out how to identify these types of urinary storage incontinence.

    • Bladder voiding dysfunction

      Examine our case studies: Jean who has an underactive bladder and James who has bladder outlet obstruction and find out how to identify these types of urinary voiding incontinence.

    • Neurological bladder dysfunction

      Find out how neurological conditions affect bladder dysfunction whether there is partial damage to the nerve pathways or when the spinal cord is totally damaged and reflex incontinence will occur.

    • Factors affecting bladder function

      Explore the wide range of different influences on bladder function from transient causes to factors affecting the person's ability to cope with their bladder function.

    • Summary activities

      We summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learnt and what aspects you will put into practice.

  • Week 4

    Bowel function and dysfunction

    • Welcome to week 4

      This week you will focus on how the bowel works and what normal bowel function is. Explore the causes of faecal incontinence and different types of bowel dysfunction.

    • Anatomy of the bowel

      Explore the anatomy of the bowel from the ileocaecal junction extending down to the anus which is the external opening of the rectum. Find out what 'normal' stool production is and what influences it.

    • Physiology of the bowel

      Explore the physiology of defaecation including the anal sphincter mechanism, the defaecation process, how the gut is controlled by the nervous system and the implications of not having the correct posture on the toilet.

    • Causes of faecal incontinence

      Find out what causes faecal incontinence and how a person with normal anal sphincter control can experience episodes of faecal incontinence if they have diarrhoea.

    • Structural bowel dysfunction

      Find out more about the different types of structural bowel dysfunction, how they are caused and how they present.

    • Neurological bowel dysfunction (NBD)

      Damage to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) impacts on the function of the large bowel, the colon, and on the ability to maintain bowel continence. Find out what causes NBD and how it affects bowel function.

    • Constipation

      Constipation is defined as difficulty, delay or pain on defaecation. It reflects either a slow colonic transit and/or impaired rectal emptying. Find out about it and its relationship to faecal impaction with overflow.

    • Summary activities

      We summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learnt and what aspects you will put into practice.

  • Week 5

    Assessing bladder and bowel conditions

    • Welcome to week 5

      This week you will focus on how to assess bladder and bowel function, do physical examinations and make a diagnosis.

    • Principles of assessing bladder and bowel function

      Discover the basic principles underpinning assessment of bladder and bowel function and how bladder diary analysis, urinalysis and bladder scanning can all help in your assessment.

    • Physical examination

      Find out how physical examinations can help in your assessment and how digital vaginal (female) and digital rectal (male) examination can be used to assess pelvic floor muscles.

    • Making a diagnosis

      Find out how to diagnose the type of bladder and bowel problem from comprehensive, person-centred assessment with our detailed guidance.

    • Summary activities

      We summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learnt and what aspects you will put into practice.

  • Week 6

    Promoting bladder and bowel continence

    • Welcome to week 6

      This week you will focus on continence promotion in practice. Explore the idea of people self-managing their bladder and bowel condition with support from services and you'll look at simple lifestyle changes that people can make.

    • Empowering people to self-manage

      Discover ways to empower people to self-manage their own bladder and bowel health by acquiring evidence-based knowledge about their situation.

    • Lifestyle changes

      Explore the evidence of various lifestyle changes that can be made to promote continence in particular fluid management.

    • Behavioural interventions

      Discover the evidence for behavioural interventions including pelvic floor muscle exercise & bladder training. Find out how toileting assistance programmes (TAPs) provided by carers can help people to avoid or reduce incontinence.

    • Electrical stimulation

      Explore how different types of electrical stimulation can be used to promote continence through either stimulation of striated muscles or neuromodulation.

    • Medication to promote continence

      Explore the common drugs used to promote continence in adults with overactive bladder, vaginal atrophy and benign prostate enlargement.

    • Promoting continence in people with dementia

      Discover why and how to promotion continence in people with dementia and with other long-term conditions. Explore a range of perspectives.

    • Summary activities

      We summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learnt and what aspects you will put into practice.

  • Week 7

    Effective bladder and bowel management

    • Welcome to week 7

      This week you will explore the ideas and practices around managing incontinence as opposed to promoting continence. We'll challenge some common misconceptions and encourage you to examine your own practice.

    • Managing continence by containing leakage

      In situations where all approaches to promoting continence have been unsuccessful, ways to effectively manage the incontinence are required. We introduce you to the independent, evidence-based Continence Product Advisor website.

    • Delivering the best services

      Explore the effectiveness of health and social care support services and join the debate on how to deliver the best services.

    • Dispelling myths and saying the unsayable

      As The Times columnist Melanie Reid says, 'bladder and bowel dysfunction ... is the great unsayable'. Dispel myths about the effects of ageing on continence and join the debate on getting media coverage and government recognition.

    • Summary activities

      We say thank you and goodbye, summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learnt and what aspects you will put into practice. Find out more about the Association for Continence Advice.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe and explain principles underpinning the provision of specialist continence advice
  • Demonstrate clinical knowledge of bladder and bowel dysfunction in adults
  • Describe the components and practice of effective assessment and explain how to identify different types of bladder/bowel dysfunction
  • Design and implement effective management plans to treat the condition(s), minimise individual impact and support self-management
  • Explore and debate knowledge and skills required to work collaboratively with other disciplines and agencies to effectively promote bladder and bowel continence

Who is the course for?

The course is for healthcare professionals, in particular nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. It may also be of interest to anyone experiencing bladder or bowel dysfunction.

If you are a continence professional in the UK or Ireland, the ACA are offering free upgraded access to this course to new and existing members. Please contact the ACA to take advantage of this offer.

What do people say about this course?

Absolutely brilliant course, so much information to work with, this will most certainly help me in my place of work to be more confident.

Yvonne Gale
A nurse working on the urology ward in her local hospital, although the department also gynaecology, urology is Yvonne's speciality.

Thank you. I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. It has been excellent. It has been thought provoking. The information, articles and research articles have been really informative.

A learner on this course

Who will you learn with?

Professor of Rehabilitation Nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University and the Education and Research Lead for the Association for Continence Advice.

Retired Head of Continence Advisory Service, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and member of ACA Executive Committee.

Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist
I have worked in the specialist field of Bladder & Bowel (Continence) care since 2000.
I am a member of the ACA Executive Committee and am Education Lead

I have worked within the Continence arena for 23years
Now assisting with MOOC

Who developed the course?

Association for Continence Advice

The ACA is a multi-professional association open to all health and allied care professionals who are working within, or have an interest in the field of bladder and bowel management.

Learner reviews

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