Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Patients with Spinal Cord Injury – Nursing Intervention
Spinal cord injury (SCI) has severe consequences on patients’ mobility and body organ function. In particular, its effects on bladder and bowel have been thoroughly studied since, in addition to their adverse effect on patients’ quality of life, they are also associated with increased mortality.
The aim of this study is to review therapeutic interventions for the management of bladder and bowel disorders in SCI patients, focusing on the nursing role, as a member of the rehabilitation team in the acute and chronic phase of injury. This is a narrative literature review using the Pubmed internet database. Papers were searched with the use of the following keywords: (“neurogenic bladder” OR “neurogenic bowel”) AND “spinal cord injury”. Among the 214 publications evaluated, 124 were rejected, leaving 90 studies for the present review.
Treatment modalities in SCI patients with neurogenic bladder include clean intermittent catheterization, indwelling catheters, bladder function training and assisted bladder emptying. Neurogenic bowel may be treated with adequate and appropriate intake of food and fluids, use of dietary supplements and oral medications, selection of appropriate methods to aid defecation and emptying and colostomy surgery. The role of nursing care is of vital importance as it can prevent further injury and contribute to improvement of patients’ quality of life.
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