NHS Supply Chain have conducted research to ensure that products used to manage incontinence, meet the needs of people living with bladder and bowel problems. They have utilised the experiences of patients to help support them in a new supply framework, expected to go live on 2 August.
As part of the development process for the Disposable and Washable Continence Care framework, product users were asked to share their views on the most important features, such as its form, fit and flexibility, to be considered as importantly as absorbency and size; and type of products they used.
Other customers included in this process were parents and carers of children to understand their needs for paediatric products such as nappies. The responses were gathered by the clinical team within the NHS Supply Chain: Rehabilitation, Disabled Services, Women’s Health, and Associated Consumables, to help shape the scope and structure of the framework.
Lisa Charlesworth, Clinical Engagement and Implementation Manager, said: “We recognise that people with bladder and bowel problems have a wealth of personal experience and an extensive understanding of how the symptoms impacts on their lives. They and their families have become ‘experts by experience’ and have a wealth of working knowledge of the available products.
“When developing our new continence framework, we wanted to involve them as well as healthcare professionals to really understand how products can best meet their needs clinically, as well as exploring opportunities for innovation.
“We understand that having a bladder and/or bowel problem, can result in embarrassment, anxiety and distress. This can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life and may even result in social isolation.
“An appreciation of the impact that bladder and bowel dysfunction have for individuals has played a vital role in informing and shaping our frameworks and product specifications.”
The framework features 1,148 new products, including the addition of more than 600 new washable and recycled products, as well as new eco-friendly paediatric nappies.
Fay Allen from NHS Supply Chain’s Clinical and Product Assurance team, said: “For us to assure the upcoming frameworks for NHS Supply Chain, feedback from users of our products, carer groups and advocate groups within the NHS is vital.
“By utilising the knowledge and requirements of our patients within the framework development ensures that individuals and families are offered choice in products that meet their clinical needs, ultimately enhancing quality of life.”