ERIC Paediatric Care Conference 2016: Right Time, Right Place, Right Care

I recently attended the ERIC conference in Birmingham. Presentations were given to a delegate-packed Westminster Suite by a line-up of experts involved in helping kids and teens with the (still) taboo wee and poo problems. The conference programme was well balanced and showcased the results of new research, detailed the impact on everyday lives, and discussed innovative management approaches to toileting problems.

Brave teenagers address conference

The opening address was a colourful presentation by a bunch of teenagers who have been through these issues, and, in some cases are still dealing with them. Day is stressful. Social media is everywhere and secrets go viral with the click of a smart phone key. To be a young person with embarrassing elimination issues can, therefore, be mortifying and lead to real social anxiety and isolation. Being accepted for who you are, not your disabilities, is the thing that kids of all ages crave.

Risk factors associated with continence problems in young people

Dr Carol Joinson, Senior Lecturer in Development Psychology at the University of Bristol, presented some of the risk factors associated with continence problems in young people. Her research was based on the findings of the ‘Children of the Nineties’ cohort study. She found that children who have delayed developmental skills, particularly social skills, at the age of 18 months are thirty-five times more likely to be persistent bed wetters at 4-9 years of age. (3.2% of this age cohort are persistent bed wetters). Also, 2 year olds who show less adaptability, are hyperactive or suffer stressful events in their family life have an increased risk of later nocturnal enuresis.

Early intervention project

Brenda Cheer the ERIC nurse spoke on the importance of early intervention a project that ERIC has been working on over the past 3 years which was funded by a Department of Health Innovation Grant. The specific aims were to increase parents’ awareness of what a continence problem is and where to go for support, increase frontline health professionals’ and early years’ workers’ ability to support families around childhood continence and improve the child’s journey through continence care. The project involved the development of leaflets to increase parents’ awareness, the delivery of training for health professionals and early years workers, and the development of a generic children’s continence pathway for children who are affected. Brenda stressed the lack of early attention can lead to devastating consequences for children and families later in the child’s life.

Subsequently, ERIC won the Nursing Times Award for this project. ERIC was praised by the expert judging panel for its innovative approach which was carefully thought-out to support patients and professionals and to provide high-quality continence care by using the skills of a specialist nurse as well as her enthusiasm, commitment and compassion for patients.

Adult bedwetter addresses conference

The final address was by a 50-year-old bed wetter who has started a support group for adult sufferers. He talked about his journey from childhood to adult bed wetter and what difference early intervention could have made.

The take home message is that curing childhood incontinence sooner rather than later is possible and desirable. Bed wetting – one of the most common paediatric health issues- needs to be addressed by society and the health care sector in a positive, proactive way to avoid the often devastating social costs that can result from not treating it.

This blog is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professionals regarding any medical questions or conditions.

Lydia and her girls

My daughter loves the alarm. She’s told me to ‘sell my pull-ups on eBay mommy’. She just loves that she doesn’t have to wear pull-ups…

- Lydia Du Buisson