[ Writer Name ]

[ Institute Name ]

Role of the Nurse in Bowel Management


Every story is different at the end of life. Death comes abruptly, or a person lingers, gradually failing. For different elders, the body weakens whereas the mind keeps alert. Others keep physically powerful, and cognitive losses take a vast toll. But for everybody, death is unavoidable, and every loss is individually realized through those close to the one who has died. End-of-life care is the expression applied to define the medical care and support presented throughout the period near death. This care does not occur only in the times before breathing at last stops and a heart ceases to beat. An elder is normally living, and dying, with one or additional severe sicknesses and demands great care for days, weeks, and normally even months (Irwin, 2002 16-20). At the end of life, functional dependency of patients normally enhances, leaving them requiring support to manage personal concerns like bowel care. Patients with life-threatening sicknesses have known loss of dignity as a main issue as they approach death. This is connected to reduced control of their bodily purposes and loss of privacy, especially throughout intimate care like toileting, washing, and bowel involvements. Research (2002) stipulates that nurses should question their knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the lower gastrointestinal tract, as well as the underlying principles of defecation, because without this knowledge it is not possible for nurses to differentiate between normal and abnormal anatomy and physiology. It is fact that there is a need for 'nurses to improve the evidence base for bowel care to support practice. Continence assessment forms need to address bladder and bowel problems equally.


Constipation is one of the most normal complications practised through patients of palliative care. It can cause severe discomfort and suffering to those who normally have different needs of healthcare. It can also impact daily lives of patients to this type of situation that they become entirely preoccupied through their bowels. In an effort to manage it, patients can reject their analgesia. Badly or persistent controlled constipation also causes secondary complications like urinary incontinence, urinary retention, or terminal restlessness. Effectual management for symptom is a keystone of palliative care but management of constipation keeps being a difficult area. Studies have demonstrated even expert nurses can lack the important abilities to present successful bowel care for people who are in their last days and assess bowel function according to frequency of bowel rather than stool kind and complication of defecation, or implementing a troublesome score (Irwin, 2002 16-20).


Currently, strategy about end-of-life care has enhanced considerably. The Department of Health recognised the consequence of developing and standardising end-of-life services through improving the strategy of end of life. The European Consensus Group on Constipation in Palliative Care makes suggestions for daily review, management and diagnosis of constipation, which are defined in a helpful algorithm. The Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP) – a part of the end-of-life care plan– is a representation of excellence for care of the dying. Despite of these great examples, though, some directions exists on how to handle some of the additional complicated areas connected with end-of-life bowel care like metastatic spinal cord compression, anal fissures because of localised malignancy, constipation caused through hypocalcaemia and the end phase of neurological sicknesses.

End of Life Care defines insufficient information and training of health staffs as an additional hindrance to presenting suitable end-of-life care. Abilities for skills and care for health known common core abilities for effectual end-of-life care to encourage development of staff, education and training; in describing these core abilities it can be probable to demonstrate where medical assistance is demanding and the demand for end-of-life bowel care assistance.


Any argument about bowel care must be performed sensitively prior the terminal stage is reached. Constipation can be deeply embarrassing and distressing for people, and they are normally unwilling to discuss it. Nurses can additionally get the issue of bowel elimination complicated. Communication questions and methods of nurses must be responsive to individual requirements of patients, remembering they can prioritise other sign like breathlessness and pain over their bowel complications.

Different patients in their last days can reveal it complicated to define their uneasiness from constipation. Normally they implement the word, "I'm not feeling right” as the constipation can enhance and mimic the common weakness connected with progressive sickness. If patients are not able to define their complications, the observations and opinions of their carers or families must be performed into account, especially if they are linked in intimate care of patients.

Assessment and care planning

Assessment of bowels must be part of a general holistic, methodical palliative care review, but complete, confirmed end-of-life continence review tools or assistances are lacking. Applying incorporated continence care pathways, like those implemented through expert continence services, could develop the quality of bowel reviews. An integrated care pathway of bowel is not constantly proper as the focus at the end of life is on presenting management that encourages comfort, rather than on restorative cure.

Assessment of constipation must comprise making how the method of bowel movements has modified from previous habits of bowel. Nurses must perform a common physical test, searching for proof of abdominal tightness, softness and the presence of abnormal bowel sounds. A digital rectal test can be needed to review faecal impaction or rectal loading, with the constancy of the faecal material.

A proactive system to bowel care is required to stop faecal loading or constipation happening at the end of life. If nurses take preventive actions and recognise hazards, undignified bowel involvements can be reduced (Irwin, 2002 16-20). The current improvement of hazard assessment tools for constipation can develop exercise.

Advance care planning

Advance care planning is a procedure of debate between patients and their care presenters that can or cannot contain friends and family. Its goal is to recognise preferences of people to encourage their experience of end-of-life. Some is recognised about what comprises advance care planning, which is excellent to start these debates and whether it will increase ability of peoples to decide their care of end-of-life.

Though forms of bowel care are only small part of the general advance care planning, faecal loading or constipation can pose important working complications for carers at home through, for instance, making additional laundry from soiled bed linen. Society healthcare staffs must be responsive that faecal incontinence throughout the terminal stage, combined with the emotional stress of observing a loved one approaching death, can overcome a carer who can already be tired. This is essential presented that different patients can relate in planning of advance care without carers or family present.

The Nurse Continence Advisor

Therapeutic Strategies

After getting a comprehensive data from the patient, nurses can instantly begin with different simple lifestyle modification that will normally develop problems of bladder considerably. Enhancing the bladder capacity of patient can develop nocturia with frequency and urgency of daytime. Different people drink only half the amount of fluid they must in a day. Two litters of water per day are stressed as a "normal" or enough amount of fluid intake. Completing fluid intake 2 hours earlier to bedtime is also focused, especially in the paediatric and elderly people. This will support avert nocturia and nocturnal enuresis. Supporting cardiac people to keep their legs prominent throughout the evening hours can support encourage a shift of fluid causing diuresis in waking hours? It was unanimously agreed that the role must fit into the policy regarding The Scope of Professional Practice, which is an integral part of its clinical governance framework. The policy mirrors the UKCC (1992) document and follows guidance given in the document A First Class Service (Rankin-Box, 2000 24-26).

In order for the trust to be satisfied that the care being provided to patients is founded on best evidence and is of high quality, nurse wishing to undertake an advanced role must attend an accountability and risk-management study session. Once nurses have attended this study day they can undertake the in-house training for the advanced role their manager has agreed they can undertake. After attending the relevant theoretical and practical session, nurses must be assessed in practice and confirmed as competent by the assessor, who must have a teaching and assessing qualification. Once logged as competent, nurses are required to update their knowledge and competence is checked through annual peer reviews (Gibson, and Iser, 2005 233-237).

It was envisaged that the bowel course would be available not only to The Royal West Sussex NHS Trust staff, but also to staff in the local primary care trust and hospice. This raised dilemmas about assessing competence, as the quality assurance structures and policies within each of these organisations are different (Irwin, 2002 16-20). This begged the question of how to ensure that competence could be equitably monitored for validity and reliability across the whole local health economy.

Nursing Expertise

British nurses can be under utilised in terms of their abilities and knowledge when contrasted with their colleague in the other countries where nurses are an important part of a multi qualified team particularly in management of chronic disease. In UK, the development of nurse's role is apparent but has been slower. Some of the obstacles to increasing input of nurses in other disciplines have been recognised as linking to regulatory, funding and inter professional concerns. Nurses who are entrepreneurial normally lack the power to impact modifications productively (Rankin-Box, 2000 24-26). They are dependent on making connections with additional strong others to improve latest services and apply fresh views.

Risk assessment

Nurses need to be able to identify patients that are at risk of developing bowel dysfunction. It is vital to check for allergies, for example latex, soap (lanolin), phosphate and peanut (arachis oil enema) before going ahead with any procedure. Nurses should be competent at using risk assessment tools related to bowel dysfunction, such as the Norgine Risk Assessment Tool for Constipation.

Groups that may be at risk of developing bowel dysfunction include those with:

Spinal injury

Eating disorders

Neurological long term chronic conditions (MS, Parkinson's disease, stroke)


Individuals in communal and work settings

Post childbirth

Post surgery (for any reason)

Cognitive impairment or behavioural issues

Critically ill patients

Evidence of Effectiveness

It is complicated to calculate the importance of a nursing role. Advantages to patient result are possible be in the style of their view of enhanced assistance (Rankin-Box, 2000 24-26). One reserach has demonstrated that expert nurses were successful in observing treatments of BM. Patients do not essentially think enhanced technical abilities as the most precious in their nurse. In spite of it patients can suppose advice, support, empathy and caring and disease management to be of an especial significance to their care (Metcalf, 2007 48-56).

Service delivery of inflammatory bowel disease can be prepared additional competent and more directed (Sidebottom, 2003 28-29). This is being evaluated and implemented in different nations in Europe where service redesign comprised a direct telephone line, schedule of appointment according to required demands, acute appointments being obtainable daily, common feedback replaced through yearly telephone feedback and the registration of any ward utilisation. The improvement of nurse guided services like education of patient, pain management and help for quality of life concerns is additionally clear in UK. There can be possibility to identify BM management to develop effectiveness (Gilbert, 2006 55-56). Direct contrast of optional systems for delivery of service comprising monitoring of nurse supported treatment, coordination of treatment and involvement of primary care can be needed.

Prescribing Medication

Increasingly, nurses are prescribing independently or through group protocols. This allows the supply and administration of prescription only medicines by nurses, without the need for prior consultation with, or prescription from, a medical practitioner. If you are nurse prescriber and your patient is a child, note that the nurse prescriber's formulary states that nurse prescribers should discuss with a doctor before prescribing a laxative for a child. Even if you don't prescribe drugs, the reserach believes that all nurses administering medicines as part of their practice should understand the medication they use, irrespective of whether they have the legal right to prescribe them. The nurse needs to be aware of the ethical, safety, legal and professional implications of recommending complimentary therapies, and unlicensed and untested substances, in the treatment of bowel dysfunction. These may include such things as linseed, liquorice, prunes, slippery elm, peppermint, fennel, aloevera and many other products that are for sale over-the-counter for bowel dysfunction.

Professional issues

As a nurse, they need to adhere to the code of conduct to ensure that they deliver care within a professional legal and ethical framework. Nurses are personally accountable for their practice, protecting and supporting the health of individual patients and clients, and upholding and enhancing the good reputation of the profession. Nurses have a duty of care to their patients and clients, who are entitled to receive safe and competent care, and they must adhere to the laws of the country in which they are practising. When practising within their field of competence it is important that they adhere to the legislation, protocols and guidelines relevant to their role and work within organisational systems and requirements. They must keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date throughout their professional working life. In particular, they should take part regularly in learning activities that develop their competence and performance. Ensure that they recognise the boundary of their role and responsibility and seek supervision when situations are beyond their competence and authority, and maintain their competence by using relevant research based protocols and guidelines. It is responsibility of nurses inform their manager if they feel they are not competent.

Funding for BM nursing in UK

There can be a sign that there was a shortage of determined funding source in UK. The higher part of medical trial coordinators in UK connected to the higher percentage performing in tertiary referral centres. Involvement of nursing with BM patients can be additional common in tertiary businesses in UK (Carter, Lobo, and Travis, 2004 141-146). The chance for extra support for BM patients was achieved through support from performing medical trials. An apparent funding source and a focused work definition can be connected to more service provision of BM.

A higher interest of BM was connected with more BM services being presented. Nurses used particularly as 'BM nurses' were possibly to feel additional constructive, interested and were additional inclined to present BM services (Getliffe and Dolman, 2003 55-59). Having time was an essential determinant in the provision of services. It is complicated to present extra services when other responsibilities of job are asking with coordination of medical trial. British nurses supposed a shortage of funding and focused time as obstacles to provision of service.

Currently, services of nursing do not attract Federal Government support in UK. Even in the matter of nurse practitioners where they present services similar to common practitioners; they are not qualified to be presented a Medicare presenter number. As a consequence, the costs of nursing services are not recoverable from the support stream planned to encourage these services.

The future of BM nursing in UK

Individuals with BM have a common or near normal expectancy of life. Nursing of inflammatory bowel disease will become increasingly essential because of an aging population. Government support is important for the future of nursing improvement. Since the Federal Government takes most duty for ambulatory care, this support would be excellent in the style of Federal particular grants of development or reimbursement of Medicare. Presenter position is an essential aspect to identify and maintain a profession of health care (Getliffe and Dolman, 2003 55-59). Providers of health service either decide to support non-reimbursable actions or decide not to present these services. Moreover services that are not supported through the private system lean not to be given.


Constipation is general in last days of patients where it can cause patients significant distress and discomfort. Nurses are important in presenting interventions of end-of-life like bowel care as they are in common connection with patients. Nurses must be aware of the different methods to maintaining the situation. It can simply be through the improvement of apparent end-of-life bowel care assistances that nurses will improve the information that is required to be capable to apply efficient symptom management. Nothing can prepare a doctor, nurse, or rabbi for confronting patients whose death is imminent, and their families, and feeling that it is in their power to make a vast difference. Nor can official training convey sufficiently just how essential it is for people, both at the time and afterwards, to go through the death of somebody they love feeling that they are practising a "good death.


Carter, M., Lobo, A. and Travis, S. (2004). Guidelines for the management of inflammatory bowel disease in adults, Gut 53 Suppl V: 141-146

Getliffe K and Dolman M, (2003), Promoting continence: a clinical and research resource, London: Bailliere Tindall. 55-59

Gibson, P. and Iser, J. (2005). Inflammatory bowel disease, Australian Family Physician, 34(4):233.237

Gilbert, R (2006), Fluid intake and bladder and bowel control, Nursing Times, 102 (12), pp.55-56

Irwin, K. (2002) Digital rectal examination/manual removal of faeces in adults, Journal of Community Nursing, 16 (4), pp.16-20

Metcalf, C (2007), Chronic diarrhoea: investigation, treatment and nursing care, Nursing Standard, 21 (21), pp.48-56

Perdue, C. (2005), Managing constipation in advanced cancer care, Nursing Times, 101 (21) pp.36-40

Rankin-Box, D. (2000), an alternative approach to bowel disorders, Nursing Times, 96 (Suppl), pp.24-26

Reid, L. (2005). Inflammatory bowel disease, the IBD clinic and the role of an IBD nurse specialist, J. GENCA, October, 12.15.

Roberts, J. (2007). Understanding inflammatory bowel disease in children. Nursing Times, 103(3):28-39

Sidebottom, J, (2003), Managing the complications of diverticular disease, Nursing Times, 99 (12), pp.28-29