Constipation management has been identified as a key issue for the Gastroenterology ODN. The current pathways and models employed by many of the network members is not patient-centred, inefficient and thus less effective.

We have set up a small task and finish group to deliver specific objectives towards improving the quality of care we give to patients and families with constipation. So far we have identified that:

–  Constipation encompasses a significant workload in secondary care, both in general paediatric and specialist gastroenterology clinics. As high as 50%.

–  Most of the constipation seen is uncomplicated which does not necessarily require secondary care expertise.

–  There is a significant burden on acute services with a significant number of emergency attendances and non-elective inpatient spells.

–  Parent/patient education and regular review is paramount, yet there is not enough time to do this effectively in the current model of care.

–  There are examples of better models of care within the network, and there is evidence to support this through outcomes measures and patient satisfaction.

What are we doing? 

1.  Creating a vision for the ideal model of care.

2.  Gathering the data to demonstrate the issues and exhibit potential for streamlining to commissioners. By analysing the data from Trusts with regards to acute attendances with constipation we can identify the potential reduction of that burden if these patients can be redirected to more appropriate services.

3.  Looking at the quality of life of the families we see with constipation. We are conducting a questionnaire survey of families to highlight the human burden of this condition to highlight to commissioners. We can then measure improvements once better models of care are employed. We have produced a leaflet that can be given to patients and families to encourage them to participate in the survey. Please click the link below to download and print copies of this.

4.  Encouraging commissioners to come to the table to discuss how we can reshape services.

5.  Sharing the learning from existing models so we can help improve current services.

6.  Sharing educational resources across network members.