The Bladder and Bowel Confidence Health Integration Team (BABCON HIT) has had another busy year as services begin their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To begin to understand the impact of the pandemic on bladder and bowel services, our HIT secured funding to undertake a national mapping and survey study from the perspective of healthcare professionals (EPICC-19). We also undertook a project with Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to evaluate the changes from the perspective of service users. See a summary of the findings and the full report on the Healthwatch Bristol website. We hope to use these findings to help shape what we focus on as a HIT moving forwards and to inform services.
Through continued conversations, we had also identified the need to develop a self-help and signposting resource for those experiencing bladder and bowel issues. The CONfidence app was developed with a core team of partners, people with lived experience, clinicians and academics to develop a ‘one-stop-shop’ of advice, guidance and resources. We launched the app in World Continence Week 2021 and it has since gained 2000+ downloads. It was nominated and won the Nursing Times Award for Continence Promotion and Care.
The CONfidence app has since been included on national bladder and bowel service websites and gained widespread interest from healthcare professionals (being termed a ‘gamechanger’ by a service lead in Blackpool). There has also been lots of positive feedback from app users with lived experience. We have attracted lots of local media coverage for the app on BBC Radio Bristol and Somerset and BBC Points West. Download the app.
We have also been working on a number of projects looking at different barriers to accessing bladder and bowel services for the people who live in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. We have been working closely with the local authorities to explore issues with continence care in the social care setting, with the intention of developing an NIHR research bid in 2022 to address this need. We have also secured funding through NHS Charities Together to work closely with colleagues in Sirona and Healthlinks around barriers to accessing bladder and bowel services for Somali women in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.