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2019-20 highlights from the Bladder and Bowel Confidence (BABCON) HIT

1 May 2020

Directors Associate Professor Nikki Cotterill, Professor Marcus Drake and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon Kathryn McCarthy look back on what the newly formed HIT achieved in 2019-20.

The Bladder and Bowel Confidence (BABCON) HIT was formed in 2019 with a focus on improving the lived experience for people of all ages with bladder and bowel symptoms through research, education and integrated approaches between all of our partners. In the first six months of BABCON we have seen the completion of recruitment to two studies looking at different aspects of continence.

Firstly, the ECHO study (Exploration of Continence in Hospitals for Older adults) included 27 continence care-focused interviews with health care staff of all different backgrounds from Southmead Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General Hospital. Current care and views on how education may be improved were explored and will inform the development of healthcare professional training and education.

Secondly, men experiencing lower urinary tract symptoms including incontinence can be a hard to reach group, which the TRIUMPH (TReatIng Urinary symptoms in Men in Primary Healthcare) study is aiming to address. TRIUMPH is trialling a self-help booklet in the community and has recruited over 1,000 participants in the Bristol and Wessex area.

PURSUIT (Proper UndeRstanding of Stress Urinary Incontinence Treatment for women) is a new study that began recruitment in early 2020. PURSUIT is engaging with the BABCON patient and public involvement group to ensure the study represents patients’ views throughout.

We are also delighted to have secured funding to start a number of exciting projects during 2020/21:

  • A PhD studentship to be funded by Abbeyfield Research Foundation and hosted at UWE will explore continence in the care home setting. This is an important step to integrate care home and social care research into the BABCON framework.

Bristol Health Partners funding will enable us to begin the following projects:

  • ERIC – the Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity, will pilot a Healthy Bladders and Bowels education campaign. Visits will take place in nurseries and schools using child-friendly mascots, worksheets and educational plans for early years workers to promote healthy habits for life.
  • Continence service evaluation project – mapping continence service provision across the country to share good practice and identify areas where gaps may exist to identify ways to improve continence promotion and treatment provision.
  • Educational animated videos – a series of animated videos are planned to provide accurate information about bladder and bowel leakage with self-help strategies. These films are intended to target myths about incontinence where it is often assumed that “nothing can be done” and it is “something that has to be put up with”.

As a new HIT we are excited to take these and many other projects forward and work with our patient and public involvement group to ensure the work of BABCON meets the needs of all individuals with bladder and bowel symptoms regardless of age, gender and cause for bladder and bowel leakage.

2019-20 highlights from the Bladder and Bowel Confidence (BABCON) HIT
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