Effectiveness of Bowel and Bladder Management Techniques on Children with Spina Bifida
Professor Ann Neville-Jan is Co-Primary Investigator of a 3-year grant from the Association of University Centers on Disability and the Center for Disease Control. This multidisciplinary and multisite grant is examining the bowel and bladder issues of children with spina bifida. This study includes two components: a longitudinal retrospective study and a cross-sectional observational study using both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the effectiveness of selected bowel and bladder interventions on both physiologic outcomes and quality of life measures. Dr. Neville-Jan leads the qualitative component of the grant, investigating quality-of-life issues and the factors that facilitate or hinder the outcome of social continence in social situations.
Urinary incontinence, constipation and bowel incontinence are nearly universal in individuals with spina bifida. Left untreated, incontinence leads to significant limitations of activity and participation in life. Achievement of bowel and bladder continence enables full participation in typical vocations and avocations, and significantly affects self-esteem and quality of life. Social continence is a significant factor in estimating the quality of life for children with spina bifida and their families. Thus, it is important to overall family functioning and quality of life to identify the factors that promote successful bladder and bowel continence programs for children who have spina bifida.