Children and teenagers who are suffering with painful bladder and bowel problems now have the support of a specialist nurse to call on.
Claire Waters, who has joined the bladder and bowel service team at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust which works with patients in Sunderland and South Tyneside, says she is passionate about raising awareness of the importance of early recognition of the symptoms of incontinence.
“Bladder and bowel problems in children and young people are very common,” she said.
“It is thought up to 28% are affected at any one time.
“In fact, this figure could be much higher as many cases go undiagnosed because it can be an embarrassing subject.
“Public education and raising awareness are a very important part of my role.
“For example, many parents and professionals who work with children don’t know the recommended amount of fluid required daily to maintain a healthy bladder and bowel.
“I have seen very poorly children admitted to hospital with severe constipation, which is traumatic for them and their families.”
Mrs Waters’ career in paediatric nursing began at Newcastle General Hospital, caring for children with brain disorders.
She then worked on a children’s surgical ward at Newcastle’s RVI, where she developed an interest in bladder and bowel surgery in particular.
“It seemed like a natural progression and a fantastic opportunity to be able to use all my ward-based knowledge in the community to ensure children and families receive safe, high quality nursing care and support.”