- Journal of Gerontological Nursing
- April 2012 - Volume 38 · Issue 4: 9-15
Chronic constipation in older adults has multiple etiologies, and many of these factors are interrelated. An initial medical history and physical examination can provide relevant clues to the causes of the problem. The Rome III classification system of functional constipation is useful in clinical practice to help clinicians identify symptoms and confirm a diagnosis. Additionally, the Bristol Stool Scale is a valuable medical aid designed to assist patients in describing bowel patterns in a way that is more useful for diagnosis and evaluation of treatment methods. Pharmacological management, along with dietary changes and patient education, is the initial approach to treat patients with idiopathic chronic constipation. Consensus statements support a five-step care approach for patients with constipation. Knowledge of this approach will help clinicians in prescribing the appropriate medications along with patient education.
Ms. Franklin is Clinical Nurse Specialist, Department of Urology-Bladder and Pelvic Health Program, Ms. Spain is Assistant Professor, and Dr. Edlund is Professor, College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.
The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.
Address correspondence to Lynette E. Franklin, MSN, APRN-BC, CWOCN, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Department of Urology-Bladder and Pelvic Health Program, Medical University of South Carolina, CSB 644-96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Charleston, SC 29425; e-mail: email@example.com.
Posted: March 14, 2012