There’s one aim behind the multiple activities the National Association for Continence (NAFC) lined up for Bladder Health Month – and that’s to put itself out of business.
Speaking to Change Together, Steven Gregg, Executive Director of the NAFC, said he hoped for a world in which no-one needed his group, because everyone who suffered with bladder issues asked for, and were granted, the help they needed.
Here’s what else he had to say.
Why do you support Bladder Health Month?
I love Bladder Health Month. The number of people who have these issues and seek help is terribly small. As a society, we don’t really talk about bladder or bowel health so when people notice the symptoms, they do not know what it is, who to talk to and that there are solutions. Yet it has such an impact on quality of life, particularly as you get older and particularly if you don’t get it treated.
We don’t think people should be suffering from loneliness or isolation because they are afraid to go out in case they have an accident. There’s a solution in a lot of cases. While there is not always a cure, we can make you a whole lot better and lead a happier, healthier life.
During November, we want to tell patients about the importance of a healthy bladder and bowel. We think it’s great to have that conversation going on, and if we can get just 10% more people to go to speak to a physician, we have all done something good.
How is the NAFC marking Bladder Health Month?
We will be supporting the American Urological Association’s (AUA) Bladder Champions campaign on November 15 and will be promoting our own Centers of Excellence in Urological Care. These are centers where patients can be assured that the doctors will follow them through the treatment options until they reach a satisfactory outcome.
We will also be running a social media campaign. We have taken the overactive bladder clinical pathway from AUA and made short educational videos on each step of the clinical pathway and these will be pushed out.
And our fifth annual physical therapy program will be rolled out. Called Childbirth and a Healthy Pelvic Floor, it’s a free program for physiotherapists so they can teach classes on various aspects of maintaining a healthy pelvic floor.
How else is the NAFC raising awareness of bladder health issues?
We have recently launched the first of what we hope will be an annual survey on urinary incontinence.
This year, we will look at what some of the barriers are to the conversation about treatment and look at getting a sense of the satisfaction people have with the discussions they do have with healthcare providers. We will ask about the alternative sources of information they get, and how much more we as an organization could be providing.
With overactive bladder, we know that from the onset of symptoms to when someone sees a healthcare provider is, on average, seven years. We want to know why it takes so long for someone who is symptomatic to speak to a healthcare provider so that we can do something about it.
The survey is available at www.nafc.org/the-state-of-incontinence-survey.