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What is the OTP's Role in Bowel and Bladder Management in Pediatrics?

Alex King, OTR/L, CCLS

July 1, 2024

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Question

What is the OTP's role in bowel and bladder management in pediatrics?

Answer

The occupational therapy practitioner's (OTP) role in bowel and bladder management is multifaceted. It focuses on providing a comprehensive understanding of how these systems work and helping patients integrate effective management strategies into their daily lives. Here’s a detailed look at how OTPs approach this crucial aspect of patient care.

In pediatrics, anatomical variations are common, so OTPs must verify specifics with healthcare providers or families. Some individuals may have atypical anatomy, such as a single opening for the urethra, vagina, and anus, which might have been surgically corrected. Therefore, understanding a patient’s medical history is vital for accurate assessment and intervention.

In their role, OTPs consider various chemical and absorption processes and the motility of these systems. Medical interventions often focus on sphincters, valves, peristalsis, and contractile walls that move content through these tracts. Neurological or chemical conditions might impact these functions, and understanding these basics is crucial for OTPs.

The primary role of OTPs in bowel and bladder management includes educating clients about their conditions and the rationale behind their adaptations. This understanding can significantly aid their mental health and identity, providing a basis for deeper health education. For example, knowing how the urinary tract processes fluids helps clients understand the importance of hydration and its impact on their urinary system. Similarly, understanding the GI tract’s function helps clients recognize the importance of nutrition and regular bowel movements.

Moreover, OTPs help clients develop and maintain routines supporting their health. This includes managing nutrition, hydration, sleep, and physical activity, following the "eat, drink, sleep, move" model. Integrating these routines into clients' daily lives can be challenging for clients with bowel and bladder issues, but OTs provide the necessary support and education to make these changes sustainable.

In summary, OTPs play a crucial role in bowel and bladder management by providing comprehensive education, supporting the development of health-promoting routines, and ensuring clients understand the importance of managing their conditions effectively. This holistic approach addresses the physical aspects of bowel and bladder management and supports clients’ overall well-being and quality of life.

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Bowel And Bladder Considerations: Pediatric Acute Care Virtual Conferenceby Alex King, OTR/L, CCLS.

 

 


alex king

Alex King, OTR/L, CCLS

Alex King is an Occupational Therapist and Child Life Specialist working primarily in the areas of neurorehabilitation, child and adolescent mental health, chronic condition management, and sexuality & intimacy. Alex serves his community through his work as a consultant and educator with Human Sense, LLC in Phoenix, AZ, USA, as well as throughout continued clinical practice. Alex previously served as an Occupational Therapy Clinical Specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Alexis actively engaged in his community, including ongoing and recurrent engagement in adventure camps for adults and children with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, and Epidermolysis Bullosa, research and clinical practice guideline development, and community/policy advocacy through ArizOTA Mental Health Committees. Alex has spoken on various topics at conferences/courses/meetings in the USA, United Kingdom, Russia, Norway, and Switzerland.


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