Professor Ruth Marshall
President, International Spinal Cord Society
We need to break down the stigma and raise awareness of the incapacitating effect incontinence can have on a person’s quality of life, specifically for those with a spinal cord injury.
Many people with bladder problems worry about going out in case there are ‘leaks’, but with the help of proper bladder management, including different forms of self-catheterisation, a person can limit the risk of leakage and accidents by having control of when the bladder is emptied.
“It is so important to offer the best education to the person with the injury so they can make a decision about their care, quality of life, dignity and freedom. They are the most important person within the rehabilitation team, the rest of us are there to provide assistance to enable that person to be as independent as possible in the most positive way possible,” says Professor Ruth Marshall, President of ISCoS.
It is so important to offer the best education to the person with the injury so they can make a decision about their care, quality of life, dignity and freedom.
Let’s talk about bladder issues
To cover this topic in depth, we have collaborated with Wellspect® on a urology focused episode within the ISCoS podcast series: “SCI Care: What Really Matters.” This specific podcast episode explored the issue of incontinence, the fear that comes with not knowing where or when one might have an accident and the impact this can have on a person’s quality of life – causing the profound sense of loss, indignity and disempowerment. It can affect everything, from work to family and social life. Incontinence has a great way of disrupting relationships, often through embarrassment and shame.
We discussed the importance of dignity and breaking the stigma surrounding bladder and bowel care and what it is like having to adjust to a life with a condition that means you do not have normal control of your ability to empty your bladder and bowel. For many, the best option may be intermittent self-catheterisation (also known as clean intermittent self-catheterisation or CISC). There are now many choices available to ensure that dignity and empowerment are regained.