Bowel management with spinal cord injured people

Dan Burden made this Freedom of Information request to London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear London North West Healthcare NHS Trust,

By way of introduction, I work for the Spinal Injuries Association. Part of my role is to assist the Head of Public Affairs with FOI requests, such as the one that follows.

As a request under the Freedom of Information Act, please provide the following information on bowel management for spinal cord injured people and others with neurogenic bowel dysfunction
1. Does the Trust have a formal written policy for digital rectal examination/check, digital rectal stimulation and the digital removal of faeces (manual bowel evacuation) in spinal cord injured and other patients with neurogenic bowel dysfunction ?
2. If the Trust does, please supply a copy of this document.
3. If the Trust does not, how is bowel care managed in the above patient groups who present with this care need?
4. Does the Trust employ a specialist continence nurse(s)?
5. If the Trust employs a specialist continence nurse(s) can they (a) undertake digital rectal checks, digital rectal stimulation and digital removal of faeces (manual bowel evacuation), otherwise known as 'intimate digital bowel care procedures' (b) provide instruction to other nurses to enable them to perform intimate digital bowel care procedures'?
6. If the Trust does not employ a specialist continence nurse, is there another health care professional who undertakes intimate digital bowel care procedures including manual bowel evacuation? If yes, who does this?
7. Does your Trust have a policy in place that will allow your staff to do trans-anal irrigation (TAI) of the bowel as a method of bowel care management for spinal cord injured patients? Do you train your staff to do TAI/ bowel irrigation?
8. Do you run bowel care courses for your staff that allows them to deliver the full range of bowel care required by spinal cord injured patients or others with a neurogenic bowel?
9. If yes, please provide details. If no, does the Trust have a policy which allows for the personal care assistants (PAs) of spinal cord injured patients to assist with this element of the patient's care?

Yours faithfully,

Dan Burden