Taking care of continence patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
Quite clearly, and for good reason, 2020 has been the year that the full focus of the world's attention and resources has been on the global coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Initial public health advice from the UK Government in March of this year was to ‘stay home, protect the NHS’. This advice, aiming to reduce avoidable transmission of the virus, also had an unfortunate unintended consequence. Anecdotal evidence from patients suggests the message was interpreted to mean they should try not to ‘trouble their GP’ for any reason, and certainly not for something as ‘trivial’ as their continence problems.
As the year has progressed, the Government's message has changed to assert that, indeed, UK citizens should report red flag symptoms such as blood in the urine, weight loss, altered bowel habit etc. But as far as specialist secondary care referrals are concerned, older people in particular are still largely reluctant to seek help for problems such as urinary frequency, urgency, bothersome nocturia, urine leakage, voiding difficulties and symptoms of urinary discomfort or infection.
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