Eighteen months ago the Continence Team within Cwm Taf University Health Board developed and implemented a new nurse-led prescription service that’s helped 2,300 people in the Cwm Taf area.
Bladder dysfunction is a problem that affects at least 4,000 people over the age of 18 in Cwm Taf and more than 450,000 people in the UK use long-term urinary catheters. Urinary retention or incontinence is a subject that people feel embarrassed to talk about and can be devastating for any individual, but there is help at hand.
The new nurse-led service was developed by health professionals within the health board and is led by the continence service who are based in Heol Draw, Church Village. The team now offer assessment and advice alongside a prescription service for urinary appliances/catheter patients - the service has proven to have made a huge difference to the lifestyles of people who live with this problem and have been shortlisted for a 2015 Nursing Times Award.
After identifying more than 2,300 patients who use these products in the community, patients no longer have to go through their GP to order a prescription. Patients ring into the prescription service and a repeat prescription is generated and reviewed/signed by the nurse prescriber. There is always an offer of clinical support and the opportunity to ask questions if symptoms/condition change. Patients who need clinical review are offered the opportunity to attend a clinic or can be seen at home if required.
Darrin Powell, clinical nurse specialist for the health board said: “before the prescription service we had many patients just reordering their products whether they worked or not, they may have not been regularly re-assessed for their condition or just didn’t know where to turn to for help or advice when things were going wrong.
“The service we now provide ensures a smoother journey for the patient. The patients who use the service have found it very beneficial and for some - even life changing. One 53 year old gentleman had been living with his symptoms/problems for around five years and had not left his house. He said he had felt ‘socially isolated’ because of his urinary symptoms.
“After attending one of our local community continence clinics and being re -assessed it was noted that he had severe urinary frequency, experienced a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying alongside excessive thirst. His urinary symptoms were so bad his wife had to beg him to attend clinic. He was having difficulties with the catheter he was using and had regular infections. After assessment we found a number of issues we could help with - including medical intervention and through the use of appropriate appliances he was able to go out again and is no longer a prisoner in his own home.”