Care homes should be more aware of chronic constipation among residents to improve treatment.
Leading consultant gastroenterologist Professor Anton Emmanuel said constipation is not a natural part of aging and care homes need to be more aware of the symptoms.
“Several factors increase the likelihood of constipation in elderly people. These include immobility, low-fibre diet or reduced fluid intake and the side effects of medication,” he said.
He added that it is important residents have an unhurried toilet routine and do not resist the urge to defecate.
“Patients with limited mobility will need additional support from carers to quickly reach a toilet when needed.”
He urged carers to be careful when using laxatives that can be prescribed as a short-fix when constipation is diagnosed. Currently, 74% of care home residents use them for bowel regulation.
“However some laxatives are not suitable for older people. They may not alleviate symptoms if there are other factors causing chronic constipation,” said Emmanuel.
The full article is available to read in the latest issue of Care Home Management.
More information from the Bowel Interest Group.