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New app launched to support the 1 in 5 UK adults experiencing continence issues

Today sees the launch of a new app to support people with continence issues. The new CONfidence app aims to address inequalities in care for patients with pelvic floor disorders and to improve services for the future, as well as providing support and advice to people suffering in silence with continence issues.

It is being launched by the Bristol Health Partner’s Bladder and Bowel Confidence Health Integration Team (BABCON) and UWE Bristol, and has been developed by Expert Self Care – a specialist provider of health information apps – with support from the West of England AHSN and others.

In the UK, over 14 million people experience bladder control problems and 6.5 million have bowel control difficulties. Many people suffering with these health concerns do not seek medical advice or support for fear of embarrassment, potentially leading to further health complications. It can take patients 10 years from first presentation to their GP to reaching an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

The CONfidence app provides signposting and self-help for people with bladder and bowel leakage issues, offering advice and information that can help at the earliest opportunity. The app, the first of its kind in this subject area, will have a real impact on improving bladder and bowel health for the population.

Dr. Nikki Cotterill, Associate Professor in Continence Care at UWE Bristol and Director of the BABCON Health Integration Team, is committed to changing the narrative around continence care, empowering people to self-help and improving continence education and training.

She said: “People with incontinence and pelvic floor symptoms have been overlooked for years. The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified existing disparities in services, and led to unacceptable delays in patients’ access to treatment. We must change this situation and make sure that in the future, patients receive the care they need in a timely manner”.

“Enabling people with symptoms to access this advice and information is key to empowering people to address and improve their symptoms at the earliest opportunity. Evidence-based, self-help treatments can reduce symptoms and even cure.”

Alex Leach, Deputy Director of Innovation and Growth, West of England AHSN commented; “Working with Nikki and her team has been a great experience. We were able to support the rapid review of the app ensuring it is complies with all the applicable legislation and is suitable for inclusion of regional and national app libraries. There is no doubting her depth of knowledge, or her passion to bring continence advice and education to the widest audience possible. She’s done a fantastic job on the app.”

The new app is just one way of raising awareness of continence issues and empowering people to seek support and manage their symptoms.  It contains self-help tips, information and advice, exercises and services available in the community.

The app has been developed in collaboration with experts nationally also including the Florence Nightingale Foundation and Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre. It is available to download on Apple and Android phones. Search for ‘CONfidence expert’’.

Posted on June 21, 2021

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