Helping hard-to-reach families to manage their children's continence problems: Research assessed parent and child understanding of the continence issues affecting them and the response of the family and healthcare professionals

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To inform and support the development of new initiatives by the charity ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence) in the management of paediatric continence problems for disadvantaged families.


In year 1, in a semi-qualitative pilot study, 45 families of children with continence problems were interviewed. In year 2, we assessed new resources and, in year 3, we reinterviewed 15 respondents from year 1 to measure the impact of the resources. Interviews were conducted with eight new families to provide a comparison.


Recruitment to the study was difficult. Parents lacked motivation and self-identification, and had low awareness of the options available. They also reported inappropriate or lack of referral by healthcare professionals. The results also indicated a need for improved understanding of children's continence problems in primary care.


Where new initiatives were put in place and assessed by parents, all but three children's problems were totally or partially resolved. Resolving problems tended to improve family relationships and emotional stability.

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