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Constipation in Palliative Care




Constipation is much more prevalent amongst those with advanced disease than in the general population. It is estimated that between 5 – 20% of the general population suffer constipation, and this proportion increases with age. It is estimated that constipation has a prevalence of between 23% to as much as 87% amongst those with advanced disease, whether malignant or non-malignant. Significantly, at least half of people receiving palliative care have reported constipation as a problem. Clearly, the assessment and management of constipation has an important place in palliative care nursing practice. This chapter considers the application of best available evidence and expert opinion to the clinical practice of nursing for the management of constipation in palliative care settings.


Contents include

  • Prevalence of constipation in palliative care
  • Causes of constipation
  • Assessment
  • Patient histories and physical examination
  • Nursing management of constipation
  • Management in the person close to death
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Author / Editor Biographies

RN PhD, Palliative Care
John Rosenberg is a Registered Nurse with a clinical background in community-based palliative care. He has worked as an educator and researcher in care of people at the end of life. John was responsible for the development of the postgraduate Chronic Disease Management and Palliative Care suite of courses at the University of Queensland School of Nursing and Midwifery. He is a co-author of the Framework of Competency Standards for Specialist Palliative Care Nursing Practice. John is the immediate past President of Palliative Care Nurses Australia Inc., the peak body for nurses in Australia car...

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