Many individuals experience fecal incontinence in their lives. The purpose of this article by Gump and Schmelzer (2016) is to discuss normal defecation compared to the causes of fecal incontinence, the treatments and all the symptoms that physically and emotionally come along with it. Some of the causes of fecal incontinence include diarrhea, anal sphincter dysfunction and altered rectal compliance. The article not only addresses the causes but also some of the treatment methods. The treatment chosen depends on the cause itself, the patients preferences, the ability and the willingness to engage in the particular treatment (Gump & Schmelzer, 2016).
Fecal incontinence causes physical symptoms but emotional symptoms as well. Not being able to control a natural movement that is regularly controlled is very embarrassing. Incontinent stools smell bad, and are difficult to contain and unpleasant to clean (Gump & Schmelzer, 2016). Along with the fact of embarrassment there is also the financial side of every medical situation. Any type of medication is not necessarily cheap even with insurance.
Due to the treatment costs and lost income for those afflicted and their caregivers are unable to work the financial aspects become a burden (Gump & Schmelzer, 2016). Many will not discuss the issues due to embarassment and feeling as if life is over. Not having control over one’s body is frustrating and confusing. Which is what the article by Gump and Schmelzer (2016) is attempting to speak out on. Nurses are one of the main factors to help along with discussing fecal incompetence with an individual. By noticing and approaching those who are at risk for incontinence or those who show signs can be educated on a better quality of life.
As being nurses in the medical field, it is important to realize how many individuals are affected by fecal incompetence whether it would be from age, surgery or disease. The topic is important because it should be known not only how to handle the incompetence of the individual but the emotional and economic portion of it also. According to Gump and Schmelzer (2016) “surveys of large populations indicate 6%-8% of Americans experience fecal incontinence monthly and about 2.8% experience it at least weekly” (p.
97). With that many people having to deal with fecal incontinence, nurses should be able to know the risks and the ways to go about it. Especially if the individual is being affected by the diagnosis mentally as well. Nurses should approach the topic in a matter-of-fact way because affected patients may be more willing to discuss the problem if they feel safe and maintain their dignity (Gump ; Schmelzer, 2016).
Discussing the possibility of the issue can be much easier than having to talk to the patient who already has it and is much more vulnerable emotionally. Nurses play a major role in communicating to the patients about what is going on with their body and the plan of care. Being a nurse requires to worry about the mental health of a patient along with the physical health. Fecal incompetence is very common in the health field, especially in the hospitals, nursing homes etc. For the nursing practice, it should be known who is at risk, how to discuss it with the patient and a plan of care such for treatment such as removing obstructions, improving pelvic muscle and rectal function or using incontinence products (Gump ; Schmelzer, 2016).
The article explains the way to give patient centered care on the sensitive topic of fecal incompetence and when and how to act upon it.