Constipation is a common and distressing condition for people living with advanced cancer and end-stage disease. Nursing practice in managing this problem varies across and within settings of care. This chapter focuses on an evidenced-based practice approach to the management of constipation in the hospice setting, and thus provides an overview of constipation management in the context of caring for adults at the end of life.

Contents include

  • Introduction
  • Definition and prevalence of constipation
  • Causes of constipation
  • Consequences of constipation
  • Assessment of constipation
    • History and examination
    • Assessment tools
    • Summary of assessment
  • Nursing management of constipation
    • General principles of management
    • Consultative approach to nursing management
    • Diet, fluids, and exercise
    • Privacy and positioning
    • Other non-pharmacological measures
    • Laxatives
    • Rectal laxatives
    • Summary of laxatives
    • Management of neurogenic bowel
    • Management in the person close to death
    • Management in patients with stomas
  • Case study
  • Conclusion
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Author / Editor Biographies

Beth is a registered nurse and midwife with postgraduate qualifications in rehabilitation studies. During her postgraduate studies, Beth developed a strong interest in using clinically based research to improve nursing practice and patient outcomes. She has extensive experience in palliative care at Caritas Christi Hospice, Kew (Victoria, Australia) as a clinical teacher and project officer. More recently, Beth has been involved in palliative-care research at the School of Postgraduate Nursing, University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia).

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