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Urinary incontinence is a distressing and embarrassing condition which has a major impact on an older person’s dignity and quality of life and is linked to other health problems, relationship difficulties and affects a person’s ability and willingness to socialise. Currently, there are not many options for treating incontinence in older people, especially those with dementia.
Pacific Care Clinical Director, Janice Allan, has been working with SPIG- Stakeholder and Public Involvement Group on their research into Transcutaneous Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation (TPTNS), a therapy to help older residents with incontinence issues, and to determine how this therapy could be rolled out across care homes. TPTNS is a dignified, painless treatment that can help people with bladder leakage by reducing the sudden urgency to go to the toilet. It also increases the volume of urine the bladder can hold, so many people do not need to empty their bladder as often.
The purpose of the research was to test the effects of Transcutaneous Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation treatment compared to a placebo, with both male and female residents of all ages taking part, in particular, those who wear absorbent pads to contain incontinence but also sometimes have the ability to use the toilet.
TPTNS- involves placing two sticky pads on a persons ankle and connecting these to a small, pocket-sized electrical stimulator called a Neurotic Machine which sends an electric pulse to the nerve near the ankle which controls the bladder. By stimulating the tibial nerve through the skin on the back of the lower leg, nerves that control the bladder are also stimulated affecting the function of the bladder as noted above.
As part of this trial, the research team from Glasgow Caledonian University frequently visited each Pacific Care home over a 9 month period. Residents gave their permission to take part and were informed of the benefits of the therapy. They were then placed in two different groups to gather valuable data, which included, control and placebo treatments.
Now this stage of the research has concluded, Glasgow Caledonian University have kindly donated six Neurotic Machines to our care homes as a thank-you for residents participating in the trial. Speaking of the research experience in the care homes Sue Kedley, Stanley Park Care Home Manager said, “18 residents took part and the staff really enjoyed being involved in the trial. The University trained our Senior Carers to perform the treatment and collate data for the bladder diaries and pad collections. The residents enjoyed being ‘special’ and staff enjoyed the extra time they had with residents during treatments. This trial now allows us to target specific residents who may have been in the placebo group, and measure efficacy going forward. The University was delighted with Stanely Park’Care Home’s organisational skills and we have now set the benchmark for the trial to be run in all homes going forward.”
Jo Booth, Professor of Rehabilitation Nursing & Ageing Well Research Group Lead for CI Electric Trial, said, “Electric Trial is an important study that will inform the continence care of people living in care homes across the whole of the UK and beyond. Taking part in research which aims to develop the evidence around effective care is crucial to our continued drive to deliver best practice and improve the health and quality of life of care home residents and their families. The involvement of Pacific Care Homes staff and residents, in Lillyburn, Stanely Park and Mosswood, has been crucial to the overall success of the Electric Trial and will enable us to shape bladder and bowel care across the sector in the future.”
Janice Allan, Clinical Director with Pacific Care, said, “This was the pilot study, pre-roll out nationwide. As recruitment to the trial is ongoing, the results will not be available until the autumn of 2020. I will continue to work with the Electric involvement group until completion, and once the results are released, a summary will be sent to each care home, and the results shared with staff, residents and relatives. I have thanked Jo, on behalf of the team for involving us in the trial and invited further collaboration with future research that could positively affect the quality of lives of our residents.”